Why friendly v Dartford will be such a big day for Worthing FC

Saturday, July 17. Put the date firmly in your diaries, Worthing fans.

Fans will be back inside Woodside Road in July for the first home friendly
Fans will be back inside Woodside Road in July for the first home friendly

After 16 months away, that is the day you will be able to watch your team play at Woodside Road once again.

It will be the Mackerel Men’s first home friendly – and should be quite an occasion.

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But it looks like fans will be able to watch Worthing before then – next Tuesday in fact, when East Preston will host them at The Lashmar in a friendly which should be open to fans as lockdown restrictions are eased further.

Fans last saw Adam Hinshelwood’s side play at Woodside Road in March last year, just before the first Covid lockdown. Since then Worthing have played one ‘home’ game – and that was at Horsham FC as it came when the troublesome artificial pitch was waiting for further remedial work.

Now the pitch is sorted and fans can’t wait to get back.

Charlie Silver-Burr, of the Worthing Awayboys Fanatics, said: “The wait is almost over!

“Worthing have announced their pre-season fixture schedule and there is much excitement among the fans.

“It will be amazing to be in the stands with fellow supporters – we can’t wait to get started.

“I have listened to and read many interviews with Adam Hinshelwood during the down time and the consensus among both staff and players is that the new pitch is a dream.

“Gone are the awkward bounces and the strange ball carry, instead replaced with a surface perfect for our free-flowing attacking game.

“Although not officially announced, rumours appear to be that the majority of the squad are coming back for another tilt at the title.

“This can only be a good thing considering the club’s form over the past two seasons. What a time to be a Worthing fan; hopefully see you down at Woodside Road soon.” That July 17 date marks the first of three home games in a schedule currently containing eight friendlies.

National League South side Dartford will be the visitors that day, while another two clubs from the same division follow – Tonbridge Angels on Saturday 24 and Welling on Tuesday 27.

Away friendlies begin with Worthing taking on Brighton under-23s on Friday, July 9 and continue at Selsey on Saturday 10, Three Bridges on Tuesday 13, Portsmouth-based Baffins Milton Rovers on Tuesday 20 and Whitehawk on Saturday 31.

The new Isthmian premier season stats on August 14.