Worthing Reds 5 Hastings Hornets 0
The Hornets went to Fortress Worthing in the cup and never got off the beach.
The landing crafts travelled for 105 minutes but were sunk in the shallows inside ten once the whistle blew.
The opening goal came as no surprise; Worthing Reds had already fired three salvos all saved by the in-form Cat before he was well-beaten with their opener into the left corner.
And when Puffing Paul – who had another excellent game in defence – deflected the next shot in (keeping up his remarkable own-goal-a-game record) the gig was up.
The Reds were organized and came forward as a unit firing shots at will forcing another set of saves from the H’s keeper and snapped at nothing. If their path was blocked they recycled again and again.
This was probably the best team the Hornets have faced.
Proudly wearing their new kit, the visitors had an early chance to score with a Matty Longshanks effort just wide and a second one-on-one effort finely saved by Peter Bow in the Reds’ goal.
But otherwise, it was all Worthing for the first 20. It seemed as though they always had a man free.
Chairs was tireless in midfield but Ricky was marked out of it and he didn’t have a sniff all morning.
Half time, and two down, there was still a glimmer of hope as ZZ Nick got on for Puffing but the Worthing No 10 gave him a tough time with his superb movement, drawing Nick wide and leaving the midfield free to fill the gap.
Goal three was a tap-in, but goal four was a beauty – the best of the game. The Hornets were carved apart with surgical precision for no. 10 to score after a slick five-pass movement.
The Cat was busy every minute and pulled off a string of second-half saves including a tip onto the bar and scoop off the line which VAR might have had something to say about. He was at fault for the fifth and last goal which went in off his own knee but by then the fight had gone from the H’s.
Their only shot on target in the half came from Chairs, fresh from a jinking run, who saw keeper Bow fly to his left to make a great catch. Most of the game the goalie in pink had been little more than a spectator as Worthing dictated terms.
It finished 5-0 in a fairly fought, clean game played in super spirit. The Hornets didn’t commit a single running offence – possibly because they didn’t have much of the ball to run with.
Without the Cat it could have been a rugby score.
Hilariously, on April Fool’s day, we’d been led to believe that Worthing were laying on a sumptuous buffet post-match, and on the strength of that Chairs and Ricky hadn’t eaten for 24 hours. They were salivating all the way from Brighton but in the end didn’t get as much as a cup of tea.
Man of the match, nominated by Worthing was The Cat and the H’s gave the nod to No 10 who was a super threatening striker who played with a smile on his face all morning.
The Hornets raced home to join in a full session at the Academy which saw a good turnout, a return from Earthquake-conquering Ali, a good performance from Ken the Bass, another own goal from Paul Hutton, a couple of good saves from the Cat, denying Posh three times, a great goal from Beaky, a hard-won goal from El Jay, great showings from Blakey and Deano and a debut from Ken’s new temporary teeth.
He said: ‘Thith wath a thuper thession and I with I’d thcored.’
It’s a beautiful game.