Vanarama National League South
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Worthing v Weston-super-Mare AFC

Worthing 4 - 2 Weston-super-Mare AFC
20 Apr 2024 - 15:00The Crucial Environmental Stadium

In Weston’s final game of the 2023/24 Vanarama National League South season, The Seagulls put in a gallant performance but were defeated at Worthing.

Having played on both Tuesday and Thursday night, it was always going to be an extremely tough challenge at promotion-chasing Worthing, who needed the win to guarantee a top three finish.

The Rebels also had the luxury of not having to play in midweek and they understandably looked fresh in the early stages as Max Harris, superb once again this season, was called into action when he got down low to deny Brad Dolaghan.

It proved to be a vital stop as Weston went on the counter-attack and stunned the large home crowd with another goal from Jacob Jagger Cane. Bailey Kempster got the ball on the left and laid it off to Jagger Cane, whose fantastic left-footed curling effort found the top right-hand corner of the net past the despairing dive of Ollie Wright.

It was proving to be an end-to-end encounter and The Rebels equalised just five minutes later. Jack Spong’s cross from the left appeared to be handled by Dolaghan, before he turned and fired the ball into the back of the net.

Incredibly, the scoring continued and it was 2-1 to the hosts as early as the eleventh minute. This time Spong was the scorer after Ollie Pearce’s cross from the right found its way to Spong, who finished emphatically with his left foot.

Worthing were now on top and a fantastic, flowing move from The Rebels ended with Harris making another important save as he tipped over an effort from the lively Dolaghan.

The hosts were left to rue that missed opportunity, and it was Harris who was involved as Weston grabbed an equaliser. The Cheltenham Town loanee’s long kick forward was allowed to bounce in the penalty area. In the ensuing race between Jamie Soule and Joel Colbran, the home defender could only prod it past Wright as his desperate attempt to divert the ball away from Soule resulted in an own goal.

Harris continued to earn his deserved acclaim with a fantastic double save from both Dolaghan and Pearce when it looked likely that Worthing would regain the lead.

Eventually, The Rebels’ pressure told when Worthing got themselves back in front. The home side had a free-kick just outside the area and Pearce exquisitely curled the ball home for his 40th league goal of the campaign.

HALF-TIME: Worthing 3-2 Weston-super-Mare AFC

The second-half started with more attacking purpose from both sides, and Weston had a good opportunity to equalise when Soule did extremely well to get in behind the home defence, but his effort was palmed away by Wright.

The Seagulls were also.agonisongly close a few minutes later when midweek hero Marlon Jackson was inches away from turning in a wicked set-piece delivery from Robbie Willmott.

Midway through the half, Worthing doubled their lead when a corner from the right was turned in by Colbran, who made amends for his earlier own goal by redirecting the ball goalwards and his attempt looped into the corner of the net to make it 4-2.

To Weston’s credit, they created another good chance for themselves as Willmott fed Lloyd Humphries down the right and the Welshman’s cross found Jagger Cane, who controlled the ball and did well to take the ball around a defender, but his goalbound effort was cleared off the line as the former Exeter City man was denied a brace.

Harris made more saves to deny The Rebels, as The Seagull Army at the other end of the ground continued to sing his name.

After that, the chances for both sides petered out as a fine first season back in Step 2 for Weston came to a conclusion.

FULL-TIME: Worthing 4-2 Weston-super-Mare AFC (Dolaghan 9, Spong 11, Pearce 40, Colbran 65; Jagger Cane 4, Colbran og 22).

Weston-super-Mare AFC XI: Harris, Thomas, Pope, Humphries, Avery, Jagger Cane, Dodd, Willmott, Kempster, Soule (Fletcher 70), Jackson.

Unused substitutes: Butchers, Grubb, Rogers.

Attendance: 2,533

Man of the Match: Considering the tough schedule in the last week, it was a tremendous performance from all of the players, but special mention should go to Max Harris for keeping The Seagulls in the game with some smart saves.