On Tuesday night in the English FA Trophy second round, the premier cup competition exclusively for England’s non-league teams, one side’s players will feature in their biggest game of the season, whereas many of its opponent’s players will be five days out from the biggest game of their careers.
The English FA Trophy second round replay between Sutton and Worthing will mean the world to the players representing the Rebels but one will forgive those men turning out for the Amber and Chocolates if they do not put in a shift when their next assignment is an English FA Cup fourth round clash against the tournament’s 1972 champion, Leeds.
Worthing is available at odds of +580 with Marathonbet to beat Sutton in normal time at Gander Green Lane and, given the contrasting agendas of the Rebels and the Amber and Chocolates, one thinks that the underdogs are worthy of consideration as this week’s long-priced selection.
Maybe Worthing was itself guilty of taking its eye off the prize when it lost 1-3 at home to Leiston in Saturday’s English Isthmian League Premier Division match. It was Worthing’s first loss in 14 games across all competitions and it has dented the promotion prospects of the Rebels, which are probably one of half a dozen teams fighting over one unassigned position in the play-offs. Worthing gained promotion to the English Isthmian League Premier Division last season and, according to joint manager Jon Meeney, the chance for the Rebels to test themselves against another English National League team, Boreham Wood, is a major incentive for them to get the better of Sutton.
Synonymous with English FA Cup upsets ever since it shocked then English top-flight side Coventry at Gander Green Lane in 1989, Sutton is gearing up for its most important match in 27 years. The television cameras will be at Sutton’s tiny ground to broadcast its English FA Cup fourth round tie versus Leeds all around the world and it would only be natural for some of the Amber and Chocolates regular starters to take it a little bit easy against Worthing, particularly if the Rebels throw about their weight.
Sutton has been one of the English National League’s best home performers this term, posting a 9-3-3 record from its 15 games at Gander Green Lane. Sutton would be buried in the English National League relegation zone if it was not for its impressive home form – no fifth-tier team has won fewer away games – and it is fair to say that the Amber and Chocolates owes a fair debt to their artificial playing surface. Importantly, however, Worthing plays its English Isthmian League Premier Division home matches on a plastic pitch as well so the Rebels will be more comfortable at Gander Green Lane than most of Sutton’s visitors.
Worthing has won each of its last five road games across a variety of tournaments, including a come-from-behind 2-1 away victory over Dagenham and Redbridge in the previous English FA Trophy round. Dagenham and Redbridge are fourth on the English National League One ladder, 16 points ahead of Sutton. According to one’s English National League collateral form analysis, Dagenham and Redbridge holds a 12-2-9 lead over Sutton so, if Worthing can win at the Daggers, they can win at the Amber and Chocolates.
Marathonbet is taking an unnecessary risk in one’s eyes about a situationally interesting option that is Worthing against a Sutton side that may be somewhat distracted.
Worthing to beat Sutton
Tuesday 24th January, 19:45 GMT