Friday night football. It’s not too often it comes around so the chance to squeeze in an extra game is always welcome and even better when it’s within walking distance from home.
Before null and void kicked in last season Littlehampton Town had won 20 of 22 league games and on course for promotion and well placed to lift the Southern Combination League Division One title. They were five points clear of AFC Varndeanians with two games in hand and a massive 16 points clear of local rivals Wick who occupied the final promotion spot.
Promotion never came as the season was wound up early and the Golds find themselves like many others having to do it all over again. You can imagine there is a steely resolve amongst these clubs to achieve this time around what they felt they are deserving of and it will be interesting to see which clubs can repeat themselves.
Littlehampton have been very quiet over Twitter this summer, so trying to find out if they managed to keep all of last season’s players or even sign a few further additions was very hard to see! Their first team sheet of the season last Saturday at Hailsham Town gave the first clues and in all honesty was pretty much as I expected.
Their opening two games both yielded 6-1 wins, the latest side put to the sword were Midhurst & Easebourne in midweek, but Worthing Utd having won their opening two games as well were expected to provide a bit more of a sterner test for Town.
As it was, Littlehampton went for the jugular right from the kick off. They were in front in less than two minutes, a superb first time ball from George Gaskin found Harry Russell to slot past Aaron Relf in the visitors goal. Less than a minute later Joe Benn took full advantage of a defensive mix up to make it 2-0 with under five minutes on the clock.
Maybe I shouldn’t have been surprised with the fast start, Benn had them in front on five minutes at Hailsham whilst Dan Hegarty hit the target in midweek even earlier and in both games Town were three goals to the good by half time. Worse was to come for the visitors as Benn capitalised on some more lacklustre defending to fire past Relf for 3-0 and only 15 minutes of the game had gone.
Utd certainly looked quite shell-shocked at the way Littlehampton had approached the game and struggled to get any kind of momentum going across the pitch, Golds having a lot of joy with Lucas Pattenden’s direct running down the right flank. Benn completed a first half hat-trick on 34 minutes with the simplest of tap-ins for the hosts fourth goal before the break. The visitors had a glimmer of hope just a couple of minutes later after being awarded a penalty, but James Binfield was equal to the well struck spot-kick to keep his clean sheet intact.
To Worthing’s credit, they came out in the second half with some more purpose but still unable to force Binfield into any save of note and with a 4-0 lead Town were comfortably in control of the game. No more goals arrived until the final ten minutes of the game, Benn adding his fourth with a well executed chip over Relf and Jordan Layton the sixth from the penalty spot three minutes from time to make six goals in three games running for the home side.
Worthing know they won’t come up against sides like Littlehampton every week and for the hosts this is a side very capable of repeating last season but this time finishing the job. Both sides now take a break from league action as the Golds head to Beckenham Town in the FA Vase next weekend whilst Worthing host Greenways in the same competition.
Next up for me a Saturday double header for the first time ever and double FA Cup action, Langney Wanderers vs Harrow Borough and Newhaven vs Corinthian my destinations for what should be two great games.