Worthing eased through to the third round of The Sussex Senior Cup but were made to work for their victory, by an Uckfield side on an impressive run of form.
The hosts only made two changes to the team that won so dramatically against Folkestone, at the weekend. Joe Clarke and Rhyle Ovenden coming in for Darren Budd and Will Miles.
Bailo Camara almost capitalised on a mistake at the back, in the opening sixty seconds, only for his shot to go wide.
Callum Smith then fired narrowly over the angle of crossbar and post before Sam Rents came close with one of his trademark free-kicks, as the game started at a frantic pace.
Kleton Perntpeoy was lucky to stay on the pitch, when he handled the ball outside his area and merely earned a yellow card for his indiscretion. The subsequent set-piece from Smith deflected inches wide of the target.
David Ajiboye had a golden opportunity to break the deadlock, midway through the first half but sliced his shot horribly wide, with only the ‘keeper to beat.
With the evening’s entertainment showing no signs of slowing down, Matt McClean couldn’t quite stretch enough to get on the end of a low, fizzing cross and teammate, Dee Okojie shanked a separate effort wide.
Approaching the half-hour mark, we finally saw the net bulge and it came from man-of-the-moment, Sam Rents. After Ajiboye was brought down just outside the box, by Sam Cooper, who else but our Captain on the night, to curl home past Louis Rogers.
A couple of minutes later and a powerful run and cross by Ajiboye, resulted in Reece Myles-Meekums seeing his attempt on goal blocked. While Ajiboye himself suffered the same fate after twisting and turning to create another crack at the visitor’s goal.
Reece was played through by Zack Newton but could only drag his shot across and behind, before he was the subject of a rather crude tackle by Cooper, that resulted in the centre-half receiving his marching orders.
There was still time for Newton to miss the far post by a fraction, with a low drive, as an exciting forty-five minutes ended with Worthing holding a narrow advantage.
Zack repeated the trick, as the second period got underway, until a fine team move culminated in “Boomerang” finally getting his name on the scoresheet, at the end of some sweeping play down the pitch, that saw Alex Parsons effortlessly bring down a long-range pass and set Myles-Meekums racing away down the right, before he teed-up the on-loan Welling winger.
While some may have seen that as a cue for the floodgates to open, our visitors from the East of the County, clearly didn’t. Goalscorer, Rents penalised for a foul that resulted in Camara heading home Okojie’s free-kick.
Normal service was soon resumed however, as Jesse Starkey’s slide-rule pass was seized upon by Ajiboye, who twisted himself, quite literally, into the ground but Myles-Meekums was on hand to restore the two-goal lead.
The goal-poacher nearly turned goal-provider, when he spread play out to Parsons on the right, who fired in a low delivery that managed to elude everyone in the penalty area.
A fourth of the night wasn’t far away though, as Ajiboye tapped home a Myles-Meekums cross form close-range, after Joe Clarke’s defence-splitting pass had set him up.
Despite this, the ten men of Uckfield refused to give in, as demonstrated when Steve Hickman-Smith’s diving header, from Okojie’s lofted free-kick, forced Kleton into action.
The away side were at it again less than a minute later, with Clarke pressured into slicing a left-sided cross over his own framework
Hayden Skerry, fresh off the bench, came agonisingly close to getting on the end of Parson’s right flank delivery, before his shot from a Myles-Meekums lay-off wouldn’t quite dip enough.
After nearly twenty minutes without either defence being breached, a delightful ball over the top from substitute, Ricky Aguiar, saw Myles-Meekums give a relieved Rogers a comfortable catch and the third replacement, Jazz Rance, could only watch as his effort hit the inside of the post.
The last six minutes then produced three more goals, with Myles-Meekums getting his second of the match, by firing home from a tight angle and Uckfield pulling one back through McClean’s close-range finish. Moments after Rance had been unable to get the ball out from under his feet.
The homegrown winger wasn’t to be denied though, as he played a wonderful one-two on the left touchline with Myles-Meekums and tore into the area, where he unleashed a powerful drive into the back of the net, to put the icing on the cake.