Will Worthing Secure The Final National League Place? – Opinion

The National League season brings down it’s curtain on Bank Holiday Monday as Worthing host Braintree Town for a place at non-league’s top table.

Another sold out 3,000 crowd at the Sussex Transport Community Stadium could see history made if the hosts win whilst the visitors would be returning to the pinnacle of non-league football for the first time since 2011.

The Rebels were 60 seconds away from elimination in their semi-final against Maidstone United, before Ollie Pearce scored his 42nd league goal of the season to seal victory.

Braintree meanwhile edged past local rivals Chelmsford City after extra time to reach the final, letting a two goal lead slip before Jayden Davies popped up with the winner.

The Iron have had the upper hand in both meetings already this season winning 4-0 at home and 1-0 in West Sussex but that can count for nothing in a one-off game of this magnitude.

Angelo Harrop’s Essex side were not one of the fancied teams for a play off berth but his side have won plaudits all season for their ability to not know when they are beaten.

Worthing were the form team coming into the end of season games but as has been seen a lot over the last week, neither form or home advantage counts for very much.

However in Pearce they have a proven matchwinner on so many occasions this year. There is threat from other areas of the pitch too, Danny Cashman can exert major influence if not tightly marked.

Set pieces will be a key part of the afternoon, the delivery from Kane Wills into the likes of Joel Colbran and Kodi Lyons-Foster could potentially be where the goals come from.

The Iron though are not without their own matchwinners. Whilst it didn’t work out for Freddie Sears at Dagenham & Redbridge earlier in the campaign he has already made some contribution for the Essex side and his experience will be vital throughout the afternoon.

Fellow striker Aaron Blair has been the subject of interest from higher up this season, the Rebels defence will have to be at optimum performance levels to keep both strikers off the scoresheet.

Defensively the Essex side are very strong but under Aarran Racine Worthing have tightened up at the back and the introduction of Lyons-Foster has added some height at both ends of the pitch.

Whilst there may be some thought Braintree have the edge after keeping clean sheets in those two league games they will need to press Worthing hard high up the pitch.

If they can’t, then the Rebels will dictate the game with their possession style and getting the first goal would ease some nerves and gain greater confidence.

It should be a close game to call, the massive reward for both clubs on offer could also mean they both attack hard from kick-off, if an early goal goes Worthing’s way then the hosts can play their game but the longer Braintree can keep out Pearce and co then Harrop will fancy a third away win in a row to reach the top of the non-league tree.





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