Last season’s top scorer, Kieron Pamment, came back to haunt his former club, as his late equaliser took this FA Trophy 1st Qualifying Round tie to a replay.
Hinsh rotated his squad again, as Colbran, Racine and Budd were replaced by Clarke, Ovenden and Rance. With Buddy assuming the role of “parental supervision,” amongst an otherwise teenage subs bench.
A drop in temperature this week appeared to have got one local resident somewhat over- excited, as Christmas decorations adorned their front garden.
Sadly, the atmosphere inside the neighbouring Green Elephants Stadium, was of a less exuberant nature.
Former Red, Ben Pope headed narrowly over the near post and Callum Kealy turned and shot behind, as both teams made a tentative start.
The how-wide-do-you-want-the-goal nature of the opening exchanges continued, when Ollie Pearce sent the inhabitants of the neighbouring Nature Reserve running for cover.
We’d nearly reached the midway point of the first half, when it looked like Joe Clarke was going to end the stalemate but he could only side-foot Rhyle Ovenden’s corner over the bar.
With the smell of mince pies wafting over the fence from Maple Drive, a seemingly inspired Hillians pepperd the visitors goal, as firstly, Pope was denied by the legs of Perntpeoy, before the Albanian-born Greek stopper got up quickly to prevent Pamment from finding the net.
Dan Beck then went close until the always-reliable ,Gary Charman blocked bravely to keep David Ajiboye off the scoresheet.
The woodwork came to Worthing’s rescue, after Mike Wilson’s corner had been headed against the upright by the predatory Pamment, with the follow-up sent millimetres over by Charman.
It came as a surprise to many, when, against the run of play, Ollie Pearce found the back of the net, as he swept home Jazz Rance’s left-wing corner.
Ajiboye curled wide as the game drifted into stoppage time and Pearce very nearly finished off a move that he’d started, sliding in at the back stick in an attempt to double his and his side’s tally. Alex Parsons providing the right-sided delivery once some incisive build-up play, involving the goalscorer, Kealy and Clarke had found him waiting on the wing.
The second period started in identical fashion to the first, with Pope unable to keep his header down.
A rather more spectacular, overhead attempt from the evergreen, Pat Harding forced Perntpeoy to pull-off a stunning one-handed save, by the base of his left-hand post.
Whilst a scrimmage in the penalty area, ended with James Richmond deflecting another Pearce effort over the crossbar and Will Miles also missing the target by the same route, from substitute, Ricky Aguiar’s ensuing corner.
Pearce was left apologising to the residents of Wivelsfield, nearly two-thirds of the way through the contest, before Beck threatened the local pigeon population, as both players appeared to be confusing Aussie Rules with Association Football.
Wilson went close to playing in Pope but, the ball just ran away from the striker, less than a minute before Ibrahim Diallo produced a superb, last-ditch block to stop Ajiboye getting through, one-on-one, with Josh James.
Charman fired a warning signal, when he sent another header dangerously close, before Pamment pounced in the penalty box to prod home Aaron Smith-Joseph’s ball in from the right.
The provider had one last chance, to turn scorer, only for the end product not to match the run, as the Mid Sussex men broke from midfield and the match ended all square.