Former Dons stopper Worner thriving in non-league as he is crowned Goalkeeper of the Year

Goalkeeper Ross Worner believes his decision to drop down into non-league has been fully vindicated after he not only earned promotion back with Sutton United but also saw his performances recognised far and wide.

Worner was at Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge on Wednesday afternoon where he was named the Reusch Goalkeeper of the Year at The Non-League Paper’s National Game Awards in association with SCL.

A former keeper at Charlton, Aldershot and AFC Wimbledon, 26-year-old Worner made the decision to leave the Football League last summer in pursuit of regular football.

And it was one that certainly paid off as his new side recovered from a slow start to win the National League South title with a game to spare.

The defensive statistics were particularly impressive with Sutton boasting the best record in the division, with just 32 goals conceded in 42 league games, while Worner kept 26 clean sheets in all competitions.

And after being honoured with the gong on Wednesday, Worner admitted the season’s achievements were still to fully sink in.

“It’s a great feeling winning goalkeeper of the year. To even get nominated for it was a bit of a surprise,” he said.

“To come to a place like this and even win it, I’m absolutely thrilled. It’s not often you get to come to these sort of events.

“When we won the league it didn’t really sink in until the last game of the season.

“Where we were in November, it looked like we were going to scrape into the play-offs if we were lucky.

“And then we went on an unbeaten run of 26 games and managed to go on and win the league.

“As a player, it’s all about playing games. At the stage I was, I wasn’t really playing any games.

“When I got a call from the manager asking if I wanted to come and play, I had a look and saw what players were at the club, I thought we could get promoted.

“If you’re not playing games, you’re not going to get seen.”

In all, Worner missed just one league game – the last one at Oxford City, when the title was already won and his understudy got the chance to don the gloves.

By this time, he had already twice kept five clean sheets in a row and won an army of admirers in the process.

And while next season will represent a much tougher challenge, Worner is confident the team are strong enough to hold their own.

“I’ve played in the National League before and I know it’s a tough league,” he added.

“I’ve always wanted to push to get back in there, and it’s great to be a part of a team that’s done that so I’m really looking forward to the start of the season.

“We know we’ve got a good squad that can go and compete in the league. We’ve got a good shout of doing alright. After our slow start last season, we really pushed on and we were looking unbeatable every game.

“We had a solid back five and we weren’t conceding goals either. All we had to do was score and we knew we would get results out of the games.”

SCL Education and Training are a government approved post-16 education provider in the sports and active leisure sector with an Ofsted Grade 2 “Good” rating.

SCL have educated over 15,000 young adults through Academy partnerships with over 70 football, rugby and cricket, professional and non-league sports clubs, foundations and community trusts. To find out more visit

Featured image courtesy of Michael Hulf/The Non-League Paper

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