Worthing vs. Bognor Regis Town

Rebels edge Rocks to win Senior Cup

Words by Joe Williams
Worthing 0-0 Bognor Regis Town (8-7 after penalties)

Worthing lifted the Sussex Senior Challenge Cup for the first time since 1999 after a goalless draw saw them beat Bognor 8-7 on penalties at the Amex Stadium on Thursday night.

The 17-year-old Worthing goalkeeper, William Tillman, had a debut to remember as his crucial save from Harvey Whyte’s penalty sealed the victory.

Earlier on in the shootout, Joshua McCormick had the chance to win it for Bognor, but his penalty sailed over the bar to keep Worthing in the match.

It was a night of missed opportunities for the Rocks with the bulk of the game’s chances falling to them, however they were never able to find that finishing touch.

A fervent atmosphere was created by the 2,594 fans in attendance as the two sets jousted off the pitch just as enthusiastically as the teams did on it.

Bognor edged a competitive first-half where they picked their moments to press from midfield and created chances in transition.

Dan Gifford was a constant thorn in Worthing’s side, causing trouble for their defenders down both wings. The Portsmouth loanees first foray down the right-hand side set up a chance for Nathan Odokonyero, whose shot was comfortably saved. 

Minutes later Gifford dribbled inside from the left before being taken down just outside the box with Calvin Davies resultant free-kick going narrowly wide.

Worthing struggled with Bognor’s physicality in midfield. They had spells of possession but anytime they tried to progress the ball into the final third a Bognor defender was there to snuff it out.

Their only chance of the half came after tricky work down the right from Reece Myles-Meekums won them a free-kick which Joe Rye headed into the side netting at the back post.

At the other end, the shots kept coming. Alfie Bridgman had time and space on the edge of the box, but he could not find the target and Odokonyero’s driving shot was smartly saved by Tillman at the end of the half.

The second-half was a more even contest with both teams having chances to make the breakthrough, but Bognor still looked the more threatening.

In the 57th minute, a through ball released Gifford down the right-hand side, he then cut inside onto his left foot and unleashed a shot which clattered off the crossbar.

Worthing looked to punish Bognor for their wastefulness. An Ollie Pearce free-kick was brilliantly tipped onto the post by Bognors Matt Rowley and shortly after Pearce got to the byline and found Joel Colbran in space, but his shot sailed over.

Worthing finally had the ball in the net on the 78th minute but the linesman’s flag halted their celebrations. Mo Jammeh’s shot had deflected in off Pearce, who was in an offside position.

Both teams continued to push for the win, but it was Bognor who nearly stole it late on.

Odokonyero fed Joshua McCormick who jinked past two defenders before his shot from a tight angle was saved by Tillman at the near post. It proved to be the final chance of the game as the full-time whistle brought penalties.

Rowley saved Worthing’s first penalty from Pearce which set Bognor up for the win, but McCormick was unable to replicate his penalty heroics from the semi-final.

In the end, Tillman was the hero. Mobbed by his teammates after he dived to his left to stop Whyte’s penalty.

Bognor manager, Robbie Blake, was pragmatic when reflecting on the defeat:

“I thought we were excellent to acquit ourselves the way we did against a team that has gone toe-to-toe with everybody in the Conference South. 

“It’s just those fine margins that sometimes define players and results, tonight we were on the wrong end of it.”

Worthing manager, Adam Hinshelwood, conceded that Bognor had the better of the 90 minutes.

He said: “We were under no illusions that it would be an easy game just because they are a league below. 

“I think on the balance of play they probably deserved to win the game; they had some really good chances but didn’t quite take them.”

Hinshelwood reserved special praise for his young goalkeeper:

“I am delighted for Will, he has been an unsung hero. For him to get his moment in the final, at the Amex, to save the winning penalty is unbelievable.”

This was Worthing’s first Sussex Senior Challenge Cup win for over 20 years and Hinshelwood was proud to be able to bring it home for the fans.

He said: “They have been phenomenal all season, home and away, they have really backed us. I’m delighted that they were able to enjoy their evening in the end.”

Worthing vs. Bognor Regis Town
Worthing vs. Bognor Regis Town - 11-05-23
Highlights of the Sussex Senior Challenge Cup Final powered by Your Instant Replay.

(Video highlights are available above and on YouTube - courtesy of Your Instant Replay)
(A selection of photographs can be found on Facebook - courtesy of Simon Roe Photography)

Stats (Worthing-Bognor Regis Town): Goals (0-0); Penalties (8-7); Shots (6-13); On Target (1-6); Corners (4-5); Offsides (4-3); Fouls (8-13); Yellow Cards (1-0); Red Cards (0-0).

Worthing: Tillman, Colbran, Wills, Racine, Rodari, Pearce, Starkey, Rye, Beresford, Akanbi, Myles-Meekums.
Subs: Vincent, Bowry, Parsons, Dabre, Jammeh.

Bognor Regis Town: Rowley, Dockerill, Rabbetts, Davies, Black, Robson, Whyte, De St Croix, Odokonyero, Gifford, Bridgman.
Subs: McCormick, Olaniyan, Figueira, Howick, Chalaye.

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