City will look to continue their climb toward the Vanarama National League South play-off zone tomorrow when they travel to the South Coast to face a side currently occupying one of the coveted positions, Worthing FC. The match will mark City’s first ever visit to the Crucial Environmental Stadium, with the Rebels enjoying their maiden season at this level.
Worthing secured their National League place by lifting the Isthmian League Premier Division title last season with 97 points, scoring exactly 100 goals in the process. Amazingly this marked the third successive season they had topped the division, only for the termination of the 2019/20 and 2020/21 to deny them the chance of promotion.
The club were originally formed in 1886, initially playing in the West Sussex Football League before becoming a founder member of the Sussex County League in 1920. With eight titles in 20 seasons at that level they joined the Corinthian League shortly after World War II, then the Athenian League in 1963, before switching to the Isthmian League 14 years later. A number of promotions and relegations followed and as recently as the 2014/15 season the clubs future was in doubt with debts of around £200K. However, in March 2015 local football enthusiast, and former Worthing youth team player, George Dowell became the majority shareholder in the club, and steadied the ship. They returned to the Premier Division via the play-offs in May 2016 and, following the return of manager Adam Hinshelwood in late 2017, began a steady climb to the National League.
They took to their new surroundings in excellent fashion, going unbeaten for their first ten games of the 2022/23 season. However, an FA Cup exit against local rivals Eastbourne Borough at the start of October preceded a dip in form, with just one win in their next seven games. Since then they have been involved in a number of high scoring games, including a 5-4 win at St Albans and a 6-0 victory over Dulwich Hamlet. They have also suffered a 5-1 defeat against Havant & Waterlooville and two heavy losses against champions-elect Ebbsfleet United, the second of these a 7-2 loss in their most recent outing. Remarkably only Ebbsfleet have scored more than Worthing’s 68 goals but they have conceded more goals than three of the current bottom four sides.
There are likely to be two players lining up for the Rebels tomorrow with connections to City. Defender Dan Bowry made 27 appearances for the Romans during the 2019/20 season whilst on loan from Cheltenham Town. He joined Worthing in July 2022. And forward Mo Dabre featured for City during the 2021 pre-season.
The sides meet at Twerton Park back in December and played out an eventful 2-2 draw. After a goalless first half Pearce put the visitors ahead on 54 minutes. However, the lead only lasted three minutes as Sonny Cox raced clear to roll home an equaliser. And six minutes later the same player’s shot deflected off Dan Bowry to put City in front. With eight minutes left City were gifted the chance to secure the win when Bowry felled Cox in the area, only for Scott Wilson to see his penalty kick hit the bar. And three minutes into stoppage time Worthing grabbed a point through Starkey’s close range finish.
Unfortunately the Supporters Club will not be running a coach, so supporters looking to make the trip face a 2.5-3 hours’ drive or a train via Paddington and Victoria stations, which will take around 4 hours. Although it is then a short 10 minute walk from the station to the ground for those fans who take that option.
Tickets for the match can be purchased here:
or you can listen to the usual excellent coverage by Bath City Radio here: