Khalsa bounced back from last weekend’s miserable defeat at home to Westfields in the best possible way, narrowly outpunching one of the league’s heavyweights Worcester City on their own turf in a third v fourth clash.
Make no mistake, this was not a pretty match, eventually won thanks to Lee Chilton’s penalty just after the break, his 15thof the season in all competitions, ending Worcester’s impressive unbeaten run which stretches back to August.
The ball spent a lot of the time in the air, infringements were commonplace – aided by a busy referee – and there was precious little goalmouth action. But for all that it was a fascinating, feisty and frenetic affair which Khalsa just about edged but which could have been very different had fate dictated.
While there was plenty of huffing and puffing early doors, nothing of note occurred until 25 minutes, Sam Arnold in the Khalsa goal making a hash of a long ball, giving opportunities to both James Baldwin and Chris Withington which were charged down before George Forsyth got a shoot off which Arnold gratefully recovered to save.
At the other end the impressive Jamie Smith – whose afternoon ended with him being stretchered off after an unfortunate aerial clash with Mensah Kinch – produced a great block as Carlo Franco prepared to pull the trigger on a Chilton cross.
Almost all of the best action was condensed either side of the half-time whistle.
First, on 41 minutes, Jordan Harrison had an open goal from six yards to put Worcester ahead only to somehow put the ball wide.
And then two minutes later, two players were offside when a ball was played through, the linesman – struggling to keep up with play – kept his flag down and with Harrison clear through limply shot at Arnold’s legs.
With Khalsa lucky not to go in two down, they were delighted within a minute of the restart to be one up.
Dan Westwood was hacked down while seeking to get on the end of Franco’s right wing cross and Chilton stepped up to smash the ball past Dan Jezeph, who managed to get a palm to the ball.
Khalsa began to claw a few breaks as they soaked up the pressure. On 78 minutes Westwood’s shot from Chilton’s knockdown was deflected wide and then on 86 minutes substitute Josh Thomas unleashed a stinger which was parried away by Jezeph.
With the clock ticking away, substitute Jay Holdcroft was fed by Thomas and pulled a shot just wide.
Despite being under the most intense pressure for most of the second half, Khalsa held solid as a rock to take a famous victory in front of a crowd of over 400.
Sporting Khalsa: Sam Arnold, Carlo Franco, Alex Melbourne, Leon Miles, Tes Robinson (captain), Alex Perry, Dave Meese, Rico Taylor (Liam Armstrong), Dan Westwood (Jay Holdcroft), Mensah Kinch (Josh Thomas, Lee Chilton. Subs not used: Vidal Hendrickson, Luke Adams.