WORTHING Football Club manager Chris White could not hide his delight after his side’s 1-0 derby-day victory over title-chasing Bognor on Monday, ending a 14-game winless run against their fierce rivals.
White piled the plaudits upon his players and also admitted his side dedicated their win to captain Tom Manton, who will be out for the season after fracturing his cheek bone in their 2-1 defeat at Merstham on Saturday.
The victory, after two consecutive defeats, keeps Rebels in the last play-off place, level on points with Maidstone in sixth and Godalming in seventh, who also both won, while somewhat hampering the title ambitions of their Sussex coast visitors.
McBride’s 78th-minute goal was enough to separate the sides in a valiant display from every player in a red shirt in an action-packed game which saw Rebels finish with 10 men after their scorer picked up his third red card of the season.
It would be easy to label hero to zero status on McBride, but this would be harsh and, sadly, it seemed his reputation preceded him, as had it been another player, he probably would not have even picked up one booking. He will be available for the next two matches but will then miss the last league game and any play-off matches, although that failed to put a dampener on the day for the home section of the 701 crowd at a sodden Woodside Road.
White said: “I am so proud of them, not just as footballers but as people as well. They have been magnificent today, every second since they got here and have performed brilliantly.
“It’s no more than we deserved, we defended brilliantly across the field and we deserved to win the game.
“I thought we dominated the first half and we asked them to keep that going into the second. The back four were outstanding.
“Tom’s out now and won’t play again for the rest of the season. We said to the lads we have been lacking on that bit of luck recently, as shows with Tom, he’s our skipper and has played a big part so they went out there and did it for him.
“We are as good as anyone on our day and it was a big win for our fans today.”
On Ryan McBride’s sending-off, White said: “It was so harsh and I feel sorry for him. He’s a good centre-forward and Stuart (Axten) is a good centre-half and a great battle between them was ruined.
“I have been very disappointed with the standard of officials we have had this year.”
Worthing now travel to Ramsgate on Saturday and the Rebels boss hopes the Bognor victory can act as a springboard in their final play-off push. He said: “We’ve got three big games now, starting at Ramsgate and it really is down to us. The standard we’ve set today is what we have to take into our next games.”
Worthing then travel to County League Ringmer in the Brighton Charity Cup semi-finals on Wednesday.