Worthing Football Club fell to a disappointing 2-1 defeat at home to lowly Hendon in the Ryman League Premier Division this afternoon.
The visitors went ahead through Keagan Cole on 67 minutes but Worthing were gifted an equaliser seven minutes later when Hendon keeper Billy Collings dropped Will Hendon’s cross into the goal.
Hendon grabbed the eight minutes from time when Sam Murphy broke forward from midfield and curled home the winner from 20 yards.
Worthing boss Gary Elphick said: “Along with the Bognor game, that’s the worst performance since I’ve been at the club. It looked like the Leatherhead game had taken its toll, we looked heavy legged and didn’t look mobile whatsoever and Hendon thoroughly deserved their win.
“I was disappointed as at the moment it’s a little bit two steps forward, one step back. Maybe we’re finding out about the level a little bit more but after the performances we’ve had recently, we were looking to keep it up and we didn’t do that today.
“Our start summed it all up and they could have been two or three ahead in the first ten or 15 minutes. If you start home games like that, you’re not going to have a chance in this league.
“And for their second goal, we’re two against one and it was a bit like the Chuckle brothers, to me, to you. Everyone is looking at each other to take responsibility rather than being the guvnor themselves. That was probably the story of the game, no one took ownership and unfortunately it was just a bad day at the office.
“I’ll let the lads off a little bit because of the Leatherhead game and I’ll sweep it under the carpet but they’d better make sure they’re revved up for Monday.”
Worthing did not get going in the first half and Hendon had numerous chances in the opening 45 minutes but Rikki Banks was in outstanding form.
Banks made saves from Niko Muir and Chris Seeby in the opening 20 minutes, while Murphy also sent a decent opening over from 12 yards.
Cole then went close twice in quick succession as he glanced a header wide of the far post and blazed over from eight yards.
Banks dived to his right to keep out Spencer McCall’s fierce strike on 26 minutes, before Muir broke through on 33 minutes but shot straight at Banks from the edge of the penalty area.
Hendon went even closer on 37 minutes when Harvey Sparks took too long to clear and McCall pounced but his powerful shot from six yards was superbly pushed out by Banks.
In the final seconds of the first half, Banks punched clear Murphy’s cross only as far as Seeby, whose looping effort dropped inches wide of the far post.
Opportunities for Worthing were few and far between in the first half, as Omar Bugiel glanced a header wide early on before Lloyd Dawes - who limped off late in the half - blocked a clearance by Hendon keeper Collings but the ball dropped well wide of the goal.
Worthing had the first opening of the second period when Matt Boiling, under pressure, headed Brannon O’Neill’s free kick over from seven yards.
McCall fired a powerful effort at Banks from 20 yards on 57 minutes, before a sublime pass over the visitors defence by Sam Rents found Bugiel but he could not get the ball under control and it ran through to Collings on 65 minutes.
Hendon went ahead two minutes later when Worthing gave the ball away in defence and Cole crashed an unstoppable 25-yard strike into the top corner past the despairing dive of Banks.
Worthing’s keeper then denied Murphy after a mazy run shortly afterwards and Worthing levelled on 74 minutes. Both teams contested a drop ball after Reis Stainslaus and Hendon keeper Collings collided into each other and as the visitors failed to clear their lines, Kane Wills found Will Hendon whose cross was dropped into the goal by Collings.
The visitors got the winner on 82 minutes when Murphy broke forward from midfield and curled a lovely shot over Banks and into the far top corner from 20 yards.
Dawes and Zack Newton are doubts for Monday’s trip to Kingstonian.
WORTHING: Banks; Hendon, Boiling, Heath, Rents; Newton (Edwards 58), Wills, O’Neill, Sparks; Bugiel, Dawes (Stanislaus 44). Subs: Axell, Fagan, Cook. Att: 660.
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