I was aiming for a trip to Sevenoaks Town on Saturday, my home town and where I used to live 5 minutes walk from the ground. But, as time ended up being against me I found my way to Woodside Road for another Worthing game, my fourth in the space of less than three weeks, not bad considering I hadn’t pitched up there all season before mid December.
My last two outings watching the Mackerel Men yield three goals on both occasions for the men in red without reply so I was pretty confident that I was likely to see goals once again. Having left it a little late to leave home, I was in the ground just about on kick off time so I had to kind of check the line up whilst waiting to get through the turnstile. No surprises in it and good to see Marvin Armstrong once again fit enough to make the bench.
Not long after we’d made our way to the stand on the dug out side than the first goal scoring chance arrived, Ollie Pearce bundled over clumsily in the box and stepped up to take the resulting penalty. Despite being well struck, the keeper was equal to Pearce’s effort and the ball stayed out of the net. There wasn’t long to wait for the first goal though as Ricky Aguiar struck a half volley into the ground and subsequently the net just four minutes later.
As if that wasn’t enough Worthing made it two before fifteen minutes were on the clock, Jasper Pattenden pounced on a loose ball in the box for 2-0. The hosts were looking as if they could score with every attack whilst the visitors struggled to maintain possession for any length of time, Reece Meekums going close from 40 yards after beating the on-rushing keeper.
Just as it was three weeks ago at home to Enfield, Worthing were well in command of the game only to give away a sloppy goal and that repeated itself as Joel Colbran gave the ball away near his own box for the ball to be crossed into ex Rebel Shola Ayoola to halve the deficit.
This time though Worthing composed their play and made sure the visitors were not going to get back into this game and the skipper Alex Parsons popped up once again with an goal, sending a spinning overhead kick into the net for a deserved 3-1 lead at half time.
The second half was extremely comfortable for the Mackerel Men although it took until the 65th minute for an addition to the scoreline, Colbran striking the post from the edge of the box only for the ball to fall at the feet of Pearce who made no mistake from a few yards out.
Aguiar then fired home a free kick twenty five yards out with the help of a slight deflection to wrong foot the keeper on 72 minutes to give the hosts a deserved 5-1 lead before the best goal of the game coming five minutes from time with substitute Marley Marshall smashing the ball into the net off the crossbar with absolute force to send the 905 in attendance home after a quite ruthless performance.
Coupled with a 1-1 draw for Folkestone Invicta the result sends Worthing to the top of the table for the first time this season by two points and that lead can be extended on Tuesday evening as the Mackerel Men head to Bishops Stortford.
Credit to Merstham who tried to keep things nice and tight and play football, but they came up against a side very much in form, unbeaten in the league since October and very much in a title race. The interesting fact from the visitors, Barry Hayles now 47 years of age still charging around a football pitch long after his Football League days but ultimately very much starved of any service all afternoon.