Both sides made changes from Saturday, as Rhyle Ovenden, Callum Kealy and Jazz Rance made way for Darren Budd, Sam Rents and Jesse Starkey. While The Hillians recalled Henry Watson – against his old club – and two players that came off the bench at the weekend kept their places, in the shape of Andre McCollin and Billy Barker, who lined up against his brother.
It was the aforementioned, McCollin who had the first chance of the evening, when he fired wide of goal in the opening sixty seconds.
That stirred the home team into action, as the returning Rents curled home an inch-perfect free-kick into the top corner, after Starkey had been brought down a few feet outside the area, by James Richmond.
The former Gillingham winger was clearly eager to make up for lost time, doing well to squeeze a left-wing cross in that dropped inches past the far post, where David Ajiboye played the ball back across the six yard box, with Josh James helping it on it’s way, at the expense of an, ultimately, fruitless corner.
Alex Parsons then got away down the right and his low, driven cross was only just cleared by the busy Richmond.
Halfway through an entertaining first forty-five minutes, however, the visitors found their shooting boots. McCollin unleashing a cracker from at least twenty-five yards, that flew past Perntpeoy.
With their tails up, Dan Beck was next to try his luck from distance but could only fire wide. His appeals for a corner waved away by referee, Shelby Elson.
Worthing were presented with a chance to double their advantage, from a free-kick in a similar position to the one which saw them score the game’s, so far, only goal. This time, Ajiboye touched the dead ball to his right, where a waiting Rents bent his effort around the bottom of the wall, only for it to hit the side netting.
The home fans didn’t have to wait long to see their side retake the lead though, as Parsons sped down the right flank and his inch-perfect delivery was guided home, by Ollie Pearce.
Joe Clarke was off target from an Ajiboye lay-off, as the action hotted-up, before Pat Harding’s attempt at parity went out for a corner.
Centre-half, Richmond came closer, forcing an impressive save out of Perntpeoy but the assistant referee had his flag raised for offside, while goalscorer, McCollin was quick to pounce on a mix-up at the back between Rents and Budd, only to be denied by the overworked netminder, with Rents recovering from his particular aberration, to stop the lively Smith-Joseph from sending the two teams in all square at the interval.
Starkey made sure the scoreline stayed the same, as his long-range effort cleared the netting behind the far goal, the huge tree behind it and St Elmo Road.
The second half lacked the intensity of the first, although that didn’t stop McCollin from breaking through in it’s early stages but skewing his shot horribly wide.
Mike Wilson sent the ball so far over the bar, it got home before he did.
Pope robbed a dithering Perntpeoy and thought, momentarily, that he’d equalised, The referee, unfortunately for him, thought otherwise and penalised the centre-forward for a rather harsh-looking foul.
Ajiboye fizzed a low effort towards goal from the edge of the area, that skipped wide of James’s left-hand upright, shortly before his improvised backheel on the six yard line was parried by the former Rebel, after Parsons had been left equally frustrated.
Our wing-back just failed to connect with Starkey’s danger zone delivery and, the two teammates were in the thick of it again moments later. The former’s shot beaten away by James, which lead to a foul on the latter, right on the eighteen yard line. Rents dipping his set-piece a hair’s breadth over the crossbar.
Ajiboye almost had the final say on proceedings, after forcing his way through on the edge of the box and slotting home. The ‘goal’ rightly disallowed as the ball had bounced up and struck him on the hand, as he burst past a static defence.