Serious injury to goalkeeper mars Worthing’s win in ten-goal thriller

Worthing extended their unbeaten run to six games in a ten-goal feast against Dover Athletic in a game marred by a serious injury to goalkeeper Josh Jeffries.
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Four goals from talisman and man-of-the-match Ollie Pearce were supplemented by goals from new signing Dylan Fage and Joel Colbran to help the second-placed Rebels keep within 10 points of leaders Yeovil Town, having played a game more.

The Mackerel Men dominated much of the game and after missing a couple of good chances, including two from Tommy Willard, were able to strike first in the 21st Minute after Willard’s lobbed through ball found its way to Fage, who was able to cleverly loop the ball over the onrushing Daniel Jinadu, his second goal for the club in his second home appearance.

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Five minutes later the lead was doubled as Dover failed to clear a corner and the impressive Michael Klass’s shot was spilled out to Colbran whose shot squirmed in underneath Jinadu for his second league goal of the season.

Worthing were in free-scoring form again against Dover | Picture: Mike GunnWorthing were in free-scoring form again against Dover | Picture: Mike Gunn
Worthing were in free-scoring form again against Dover | Picture: Mike Gunn

Despite the promising performance from the hosts the game took a bleak turn in the 34th minute when Southampton loanee Jeffries went down following a nasty collision with Whites striker Nick Dembele, leaving the keeper needing hospital treatment – with no confirmation yet on the extent of the injury.

Jeffries did later on Saturday send Worthing fans a message from his hospital bed, saying he was grateful for all their good wishes and gutted to have got injured.

After a lengthy stoppage, play resumed and Worthing got back to business through their marksman Pearce as he registered his 26th league goal of the season with a deflected effort eight minutes into stoppage time to give his side a three-goal lead.

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In a bizarre five-minute spell, the Rebels looked in danger of throwing the game away as substitute keeper Rocco Rees let in a George Wilkinson free kick at his near post before goal scorer Fage gave away a sloppy penalty in the 60th minute (of the first half) which was duly converted by Luke Baptiste to stun the home support.

Second place Worthing managed to get themselves back on track six minutes into the second half as the dependable Pearce was able to net his second deflected effort of the game following a well worked short corner.

And all doubt was put to bed in the 60th minute after midfielder Klass was caught with a nasty challenge from Roman Charles-Cook on the edge of the Dover area, which Pearce was able to dispatch for his hat-trick whilst sending the home support into full singing voice.

Dover’s misery was further compounded as Pearce was able to sweep in a cutback and secure his fourth and final goal of the game – meaning he now has 29 goals in 30 league games for the Rebels. He has scored 14 in his past eight league games.

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Wilkinson was able to grab his second and one back for the league’s bottom side in the 77th minute before Archie Hatcher got the away side’s fourth goal in the 91st minute, heading into an empty after some poor defending from Worthing.

Worthing travel to Weymouth next Saturday.