Worthing fought their way back from two goals down at Horsham to book their place in the semi-finals of the Sussex Senior Cup.
- O'Toole (7')
- Dawson (25')
- Pearce (64', 78')
- Myles-Meekums (83')
Boss, Adam Hinshelwood range the changes as the two sides met again just twelve days on. Injury accounted for the absence of Dylan Jelley, with Danny Barker taking his place, while Alex Parsons, Ricky Aguiar, Reece Myles-Meekums and Jesse Starkey were on the bench with the returning Marvin Armstrong. Club Captain, Darren Budd, Marley Marshall-Miranda, Jasper Pattenden and Fin Stevens played from the start.
The game was only seven minutes old when the first real chance produced the evening’s opening goal. A ball in from the Horsham left went all the way across to Taurean Roberts, who laid it back for Charlie Harris to hit a shot that was only partially blocked by Alfie Young; the rebound running perfectly for Rob O’Toole to curl a cracking effort around the centre-half and neatly inside Carl Rushworth’s right-hand post.
A few minutes later, Callum Kealy saw the width of the crossbar deny him an equaliser, after he turned on Cameron Tutt’s through ball and fired goalwards.
Harris drilled a Harvey Sparks pass narrowly wide of the near upright, following the left-back’s cut-in from the left, before roles were slightly reversed as the former Worthing favourite had his attempt blocked by Budd.
Marley Marshall-Miranda, on his full debut, warmed the gloves of George Bentley with a stinging shot from an inside-left position, just outside the penalty area and Buddy blasted past the post from distance, as we reached the midway point of the first half.
A run down the right by Pattenden led to him finding a centrally-placed Kealy, who in turn slipped in Ollie Pearce, only for the ball to run through to Bentley on the slick surface.
The two forwards combined again shortly after with Pearce flashing a long-range finish fractionally over the crossbar.
Despite the visitors applying the pressure, it was the hosts who went further in front thanks to the quick thinking of Lea Dawson, who returned a Tutt header to a long punt forward straight back over the head of a stranded Rushworth, who could only watch as the midfielder beat him from at least thirty-five yards with a stupendous effort.
Not long after that, Worthing’s ‘keeper was alert to the danger at his front stick when Young got in a tangle due to another low, left flank delivery from Sparks causing problems, to pounce on the ball and avert an own goal.
A burst down the left and teasing centre from Pearce led to Marshall-Miranda at the near post, then Jasper Pattenden at the back one both unable to get a decisive touch, before the latter forced a fine save out of Bentley, as he tried to bend the ball into the top corner.
It took several minutes for the opening salvo of the second period to be fired but, unfortunately for Captain, Budd his ambitious attempt at punishing Will Miles for not completely snuffing out a Worthing warning almost ended up in the gents toilet rather then the back of the net.
Bentley stopped Pearce’s free-kick by his near post but there were strong appeals for what looked like handball and the ball appearing to cross the line, in spite of Harry Mill’s best efforts at keeping Pattenden’s follow-up out, before Sparks conceded a throw-in. It later emerged that neither referee nor his far side assistant could be clear that any offence had taken place.
Although it was half-time substitute, Kieron Pamment who nearly put the game beyond even Red’s reach as Kieron Lavery caught Young in possession just over the halfway line, which allowed KP to gallop towards goal; Rushworth once again read the danger to push the shot over the bar via a strong, outstretched left hand.
Pamment pinged a rasper marginally above the target seconds later, too but only a late intervention by Harris prevented Young from pulling one back, when he cleared his header off the line, as the entertainment level went up a notch.
The game turned on the decision of the man in the middle to award a penalty, after Sparks nudged/clipped Joel Colbran, following a neat build-up around the edge of the box that culminated in Kealy sliding the attack-minded right-back in. Pearce stepped up and calmly sent Bentley the wrong way from the spot to reduce the deficit.
Ollie nearly made it two in a minute when he seized on a loose ball in midfield and drove forwards, only to be denied by Bentley at his right-hand upright.
Worthing then struck twice in the space of four minutes to turn the tie completely on it’s head.
Replacement, Aguiar spread play out to the right where fellow sub, Meekums delivered a cross that Bentley could only parry up for Marshall-Miranda to have his attempt chested off the line by Mills before Pearce swivelled and swiped home for the leveller from close-range.
Horsham weren’t done yet though and only an athletic stretch by Rushworth to tip Roberts’ twenty yarder around the upright kept the score at two-all.
Then, the winner. Armstrong took a pass in the area from Meekums and returned it to him to power in off the fingertips of Bentley and the inside of the goalie’s left-hand post.
An overhead kick from nineteen yards by Dawson in stoppage time didn’t miss by much at all and the comeback kings had done it again !