Worthing's home Isthmian League return was worth wait

More than 1,000 fans packed into Woodside Road to see Worthing play their first league game at their rightful home for 17 months – and went home happy.

Ollie Pearce celebrates one of his two goals that saw off Bowers / Picture: Marcus Hoare
Ollie Pearce celebrates one of his two goals that saw off Bowers / Picture: Marcus Hoare

Now manager Adam Hinshelwood, delighted at his side’s 4-1 beating of Bowers and Pitsea, is plotting more such days for the growing fan-base. But he is warning that the opening couple of Isthmian premier games have shown there will be days when great patience is needed as opponents frustrate the Mackerel Men.

On Saturday it was an ultimately comfortable win but it was not until the final ten minutes that the points were secured. Bowers cancelled out Ollie Pearce’s opener in the first half but another Pearce strike and one from sub Tom Chalaye wrapped it up late on after Aarran Racine’s header had given Worthing a 2-1 lead early in the second half.

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Hinshelwood was delighted by the performance – and the size of the crowd. “If we can get most or all of those fans coming back for more, it will be great. We had close to 1,000 for a friendly v QPR so knew we could be in for a big crowd, but 1,148 at step three is still fantastic.”

Tom Chalaye celebrates his late strike / Picture: Marcus Hoare

The victory was much-needed after defeat at Folkestone in the league opener and Hinshelwood said they fully deserved it, but stressed Bowers did not make it easy for his team.

“We gifted them an equaliser and, after losing the previous week, it could have got nervy,” the manager said. “But the players stuck together and got it done.

“We’ve seen two sides set out to frustrate us so we know there will be days when we, the players and the fans all have to be patient. We hope the fans will stick with us on those occasions.”

Hinshelwood heaped praise on in-form Pearce, the newly returned Racine and new signing Dean Cox but said it was a team effort in which youngsters like Luca Cocorrachio and Kyle O’Brien played their part.

Aarran Racine heads in No2 / Picture: Marcus Hoare

Two tough league tests now await: Worthing visit 100 per centers Cray on Saturday then host Bognor in the big derby on Monday.

They have suffered a big injury blow with winger Alex Parsons picking up what’s feared to be an ACL injury that could rule him out for the season. “We’re waiting for scan results but are hoping for the rest and our thoughts are with Alex for a quick recovery,” said Hinshelwood.

“We have two difficult games in three days now so will need the squad. We’ve already seen the value of having youngsters who can step in, which will be vital for us.”

Ollie Peace pounces / Picture: Marcus Hoare