Worthing find the win in tight affair with Bishop's Stortford
Ricky Aguiar scored the only goal of the game as Worthing overcame a determined Bishop's Stortford.
The game was a scrappy affair, with yellow cards and late fouls aplenty, but it was the league leaders who went home with all three points. The match marked Worthing's seventh straight victory, and extended their unbeaten league run to 19.
The first clear chance of the game fell to Kieron Pamment early on. The forward, searching for his first goal after recently returning to the Mackerels, was slipped through into the box and had a 1-on-1 opportunity, but goalkeeper Frederick Burbidge made himself big and kept the ball out.
Lloyd Dawes went close after a quarter of an hour, brilliantly turning his man and firing a shot from 25 yards, but he dragged it just wide of the post.
SEE ALSO 'Handful' Lloyd Dawes can have a strong finish to the season with Worthing | Lucky Worthing? They won't care about that after late penalty winner at CarshaltonAaron Greene found an opening to create the hosts' first great chance of the game, driving a cross-cum-shot across goal that flew narrowly wide.
Just moments later, Bishop's Stortford should have been ahead. Jack Thomas found himself 1-on-1 with Worthing keeper Carl Rushworth and placed a shot towards the far left corner, but Rushworth pulled out a fantastic diving save to keep the game level.
Pamment found himself through on goal again after 35 minutes after a neat pass from Ricky Aguiar. Pamment shot towards the near post and Burbidge made the save, but the loose ball fell to Reece Meekums who bundled it inches wide of the post.
The deadlock was finally broken right on the stroke of half time. Pamment floated in a corner and the Blues defence managed to clear their lines, but only as far as Aguiar on the edge of the box, who fired a shot through the crowd. It took a couple of nicks, but nestled right in the bottom corner to give the Mackerel Men the lead going into the break.
The first period was a very open affair, with both keepers called into regular action. A goal certainly looked on the horizon, and Aguiar's late strike gave the half the goal it deserved.
Bradley McClenaghan went close to equalising for the hosts early on in the second half. The ball was pulled back for the winger, but he curled his shot inches wide from the edge of the area.
Moments later, Craig Calver also had a great chance to level. Calver had been played through on goal and had nothing but grass between him and Rushworth, he took his shot early but he couldn't find the target and dragged the ball wide of the post.
Tickery down the left wing carved open another chance for the hosts as Greene fired a low cross towards Barnwell, whose point blank shot was turned round for a corner.
Substitute Marvin Armstrong found himself an opening with 15 minutes left to play, taking a shot from 25 yards but his effort flew just over the bar.
Ollie Pearce had the opportunity to double Worthing's lead with just 10 minutes left. The striker picked the ball up 25 yards out and quickly took a strike at goal, firing his low shot just wide of the far post.
Worthing found themselves down to 10 men on the 85th minute, after Jesse Starkey picked up a second booking. The challenge appeared to be 50/50, but after consulting the linesman, the referee brandished his yellow card.
However, the hosts couldn't make their personnel advantage count, and couldn't find another clear chance before the referee blew the final whistle.
This victory extends Worthing's gap at the top of the table to 5 points, ahead of a crunch week of fixtures. The Mackerel Men host 4th placed Cray Wanderers and 2nd placed Folkestone Invicta, and will be grateful for the three points in the bank.