Thursday December 26 2019

Worthing 3 - Horsham 0

Parsons 49' Pearce 85', 90'

Isthmian League Premier Division
Woodside Road, Worthing
Thursday December 26 2019
Attendance: 937

A second-half implosion ensured the Hornets would receive no late Christmas presents as they conceded three goals to a clinical Worthing side on Boxing Day.

An edgy first-half saw little chances but, despite going into the break goalless, the hosts had the advantage after Harvey Sparks was sent off for two bookable offences shortly before half-time.

Helped by the extra man, Worthing took the lead through Alex Parsons and the Reds doubled their lead thanks to a gift from Joe Shelley when Ollie Pearce pounced on a mistake from the defender.

The Hornets went down to nine after Ben Dyett was shown a straight red before Pearce notched his second, and Worthing’s third, in added-time as Dom Di Paola’s side left Woodside Road empty-handed.

The result leaves Horsham four points adrift from the top with Worthing now going level with leaders Folkestone Invicta on 44 points following the Kent side’s 4-0 thrashing of Margate earlier in the day.

Despite the defeat, Horsham remain in third, with another enticing clash to come when we host bitter rivals Lewes on New Year’s Day.

An impressive 937-strong crowd braved the elements but there were few chances of note in the opening period.

Alex Kelly headed away a dangerous free-kick just five minutes in, while George Bentley punched clear Jesse Starkey’s whipped corner shortly after.

The visitors had their first opportunity in the 13th minute when Sparks drove forward down the left before feeding in the overlapping Chris Smith whose ball into Rob O’Toole squirmed out to Sparks but the full-back’s strike fell wide of the post.

The Sussex derby stepped up to it’s billing with more robust challenges beginning to fly in and Parsons was booked for a late tackle on Sparks with the latter also booked for dissent.

Horsham were fortunate not to go a goal down on the half-hour mark when Dyett was robbed of possession on the edge of the box as Reece Meekums was sent through on goal but the marksman skewed his shot wide.

Sparks’ earlier yellow card would come back to haunt him after Jasper Pattenden clipped a brilliant diagonal pass to Parsons who, through on goal, was cynically pulled back by Sparks with the referee giving him his marching orders with a second yellow.

The pack was shuffled in lieu of the sending off with Shelley replacing Smith to sure up the backline but it wouldn’t take the hosts long to break the deadlock after the break.

Four minutes after half-time, Parsons broke through and brought the ball onto his right foot before hitting a shot to the right of Bentley.

Thinking the effort would go to his left, the ‘keeper was caught out as he slipped while making a recovery with the ball left to trickle agonisingly over the line.

Will Miles’ over-hit back-pass caused more trouble as the young stopper was forced into a making a haphazard clearance straight out to Meekums with the winger earning a free-kick from his pressure.

Bentley palmed away Starkey’s resulting set-piece while Harry Mills had a rare chance when he galloped down the left but his low-angled strike was easily collected by Carl Rushworth.

Rushworth was called into action once again when he flapped at a brilliant JJ O’Sullivan free-kick but any chance of an unlikely comeback was made impossible when Dyett was sent off for a rash challenge.

The Mackerels doubled their lead with five minutes remaining after Shelley, so typically calm under pressure, had a moment of madness when he failed to clear his lines as Pearce capitalised on his uncharacteristic error before dinking over Bentley.

Adam Hinshelwood’s side sealed the three points with a well-worked move when Ricky Aguiar took two covering defenders out the game with a cheeky backheel into Meekums who slid the ball across to Pearce who finished comfortably first time.

Report by Matt Jones
Photos by John Lines

Worthing v Horsham 26.12.19


  • 1George Bentley
  • 2Jerry O'Sullivan
  • 3Harvey Sparks
  • 4Alex Kelly
  • 5Ben Dyett
  • 6Will Miles
  • 7Rob O'Toole
  • 8Lea Dawson
  • 9Chris Smith
  • 10Jack Brivio
  • 11Harry Mills
  • 12Steve Metcalf
  • 14Joe Shelley
  • 15Charlie Harris
  • 16Lee Harding
  • 17Kieran Lavery


  • 1Carl Rushworth
  • 2Joel Colbran
  • 3Cameron Tutt
  • 4Alfie Young
  • 5Aarran Racine
  • 19Jasper Pattenden
  • 7Alex Parsons
  • 8Ricky Aguiar
  • 9Callum Kealy
  • 10Reece Myles-Meekums
  • 11Jesse Starkey
  • 12Dylan Jelley
  • 14Darren Budd
  • 15Marley Marshall
  • 16Ollie Pearce
  • 17Fin Stevens


  1. martin snow says:

    As a neutral I have just watched the highlights of your 3-0 loss at Worthing. You seriously need to edit your match report in which you describe the Dyett sending off as due to a rash tackle. Let me tell you, even in full speed it looks clean, but I have slowed it down to 25% speed on the Youtube highlights and watched it several times. It was actually a phenomenal tackle, one of the best I’ve seen for some time in what looked a no hope situation. I can fully understand why the player was disgusted at the decision. He has my full sympathy and the Worthing player involved should be ashamed for what ultimately has proved to be simulation.

  2. David A says:

    It looked like a sending off at the time to me and looking at the video it still does. The direction of travel of the ball is a big clue

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *