the real fa cup

Rebels Held At Bay In Battle Of Attrition

Worthing 0 – 0 Beckenham Town
FA Cup 2nd Qualifying Round, Woodside Road, 1st October 2011

Playing against a Beckenham Town side which has consistently and impressively punched above its weight in the cup competitions this season, Worthing were under no illusions that this would be a tough encounter and so it proved. A match with little goal mouth action finished score-less despite a late flurry from the home side.

Living as I do reasonably close to Worthing’s Woodside Road ground (or “Worthing Stadium” as we are supposed to call it, but hey, let’s be all traditional for a minute here), this didn’t quite qualify as a wasted trip but neither will it make it into my football memory box. Still, the half time chips were alright.

The first half was conducted almost entirely in midfield with neither goalkeeper forced into anything other than the routine. Beckenham were content to allow Worthing possession in their own half but then pressed and harried well as soon as the ball was moved forward. Worthing were missing both their regular target-man and his replacement for this game and it showed. Hard though they tried, with no outlet to aim for they were unable to break down Beckenham, who were able to defend deeper as a result.

Early in the second half both teams were reduced to ten men after an off-the-ball flare-up between Tony Timms and Beckenham’s Alfie Nunn. Worthing moved returning club favourite Paul Kennett into defence to cover the absence of Timms and Beckenham chose to leave just one up front. The pattern of the match remained largely similar as a result with the two teams cancelling each other out.

Rebel’s use of the ball had improved somewhat but couldn’t compensate for their lack of presence in the area. Tom Manton wasted a decent chance when he failed to get his header on target and on the one occasion Worthing did manage to get in behind Beckenham’s back line, Tom Lawley inexplicably chose to pass instead of shoot when clean through on goal and the chance was lost.

The last five minutes finally saw concerted pressure brought to bear on the visiting goal. A corner from the right eventually fell to Steve Metcalf but his shot was tipped over in fine style by Nick Blue. Just minutes later the Town keeper did even better to keep out Jamie Brotherton’s point blank header, clawing the ball off of the goal line at full stretch. Worthing’s players felt the ball had crossed the line but it was a terrific save.

So the two teams face a replay at Beckenham, who deserved the draw. Having already beaten Ryman opposition twice in the previous rounds, the Kent Premier division side will fancy their chances whilst Worthing will hope to be given more space to play, particularly on the counter.

Words: Mark Chalcraft. Mark runs the 2nd Yellow website and it’s accompanying Twitter feed and Facebook page.

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