Worthing Football Club were promoted into the Ryman League Premier Division this afternoon after a 3-0 win at home to Faversham.
In front of a bumper crowd of 1,889 for the South Division play-off final, Rebels won with goals from Brannon O’Neill, Gary Elphick and Jordan Maguire-Drew against a Faversham side who were reduced to ten men after just 18 minutes.
Rebels keeper Rikki Banks saved a Charley Robertson penalty with the score 3-0 after 73 minutes as Worthing make a return to the Premier Division for the first time since 1997. Rebels had previously lost in the South Division play-off semi-finals in 2008, 2009 and 2010.
Rebels threatened first when Jordan Maguire-Drew had a free kick tipped over on five minutes from an almost identical position to where he had scored in the 7-0 semi-final win against Hythe on Tuesday evening.
Worthing went ahead from the resulting corner, though, as O’Neill’s corner was adjudged to have gone over the line before Faversham could clear.
Rebels’ right-back Wil Hendon brilliantly denied Daniel Carrington with a last-ditch block to deny the visitors an immediate equaliser two minutes later.
Faversham were then reduced to ten men after just 18 minutes as striker Luke Harvey was red carded after tangling with Hendon. Hendon brought Harvey down as the Faversham striker looked to break forward and after a altercation when both players were on the floor, Harvey was immediately shown the red card for violent conduct by referee Gary Maskell and Hendon was booked.
Rebels doubled their lead just six minutes later. Omar Bugiel’s header from O’Neill’s free kick was superbly saved by Faversham keeper William Godmon but Rebels joint boss Elphick was on hand to bundle the ball home from a yard out.
Faversham threatened on 36 minutes when Renford Tenyue’s low cross was just out of Josh Stanford’s reach at the back post as Rebels took a two-goal lead into the break.
Worthing made a bright start to the second half as Maguire-Drew had a shot blocked from Steve Metcalf’s low cross on 48 minutes, before Zack Newton fired straight at Godmon from 15 yards on 61 minutes.
Rebels did go 3-0 ahead on 69 minutes when Ben Pope’s shot was deflected into the path of Maguire-Drew, who clinically fired home his eighth goal in just six games for Worthing.
Just four minutes later, Faversham were given the chance to get back in the game from the penalty spot. Steve Metcalf tripped Kieron Campbell but Charley Robertson’s spot-kick was well saved low to his left by Rebels keeper Rikki Banks.
WORTHING: Banks; Hendon, Elphick, Heath, Metcalf; Newton (Piper 81), O’Neill, Bugiel, Sparks; Pope (Edwards 89), Maguire-Drew (Axell 76). Subs: Fagan, Quirke.
FAVERSHAM: Godmon; Cooper (Grant 54), Scarborough, Bourne, Tenyue; Robertson, Monger, Carrington, Stanford (Campbell 54); King (Brown 83), Harvey. Subs: Maxted, Dawodu.
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