Worthing’s unbeaten pre-season came to an end in their final friendly game, with an end-to-end 6-3 defeat that included two missed penalties.
Adam Hinshelwood opted to field a first-half team made up largely of trialists, with an almost entirely different line-up after the break.
It was the hosts, however, who got the ball rolling. The home side nearly went ahead in the opening minute, a cross from the left only just eluding an incoming Sammy De St Croix at the back post.
The Met’s number eleven then did well to retrieve a low delivery from Max Blackmore to tee-up a chance for Luke Robertson, but his shot lacked the power to trouble Roco Rees in the visitor’s net.
The deadlock was broken at the midway point when Blackmore found a sight of goal in the eighteen-yard box. His effort took a significant deflection off the unfortunate Tyrese Mthunzi to wrongfoot Rees.
A spectacular attempt by Ollie Knight bounced off the top of the stand as the home team continued to dominate, followed by a lay back to early substitute, Rudy Allen, that Roco got down to field comfortably.
Robinson became the next to almost profit from a Knight assist when he headed his left flank set piece past the far upright, before a sliding De St Croix couldn’t quite find the target, as he too saw the ball end up scraping the side netting rather than nestling inside it.
Seconds later the Reds were the architects of their own downfall, giving possession away cheaply and gifting Blackmore the opportunity to bend a strike around Rees and double his side’s advantage.
That lead was soon halved though when two trialists combined. Shaq Guengw chased a ball down the left and played it back to Jordan Raggutte; his simple pass inside finished with aplomb by Mo Diallo.
Two long passes over the top of the Police defence then resulted in an equaliser, courtesy of an impressive and composed finish by Guengw while he held off his marker. The visitors also won a penalty after Birch was penalised for bumping into the back of Diallo. The felled forward got up to take the spot-kick, but his poor effort was easily saved by Rhys Forster.
The Southern League Blues tried the route-one method themselves, with a huge kick downfield from Forster being controlled instantly by Jack Mazzone, who held off the attentions of Raggutte but he was foiled by the chest of Rees as he rapidly narrowed the angle.
Four minutes before the interval and Mazzone made sure the ball crossed the line as he lobbed Roco and smashed it in from close range.
Right at the start of the second forty-five the reflexes of Forster proved decisive, with a one-handed push out in response to an Ollie Pearce header keeping the striker at bay.
A cracking third for the Isthmian’s pulled them level once more, when good approach work concluded with Pearce sweeping out to Jasper Pattenden, who drifted in off the left to curl a beauty into the far top corner from the edge of the box.
A handball call gave Worthing the opportunity to go in front from 12 yards, only for the chance to go begging. Pearce went low and right but Forster did too, to deny the away team from the spot for a second occasion.
Half-time replacement, Marvin Armstrong, cut in off the right to see his attempt take a touch behind. Guengw went even closer from a similar position shortly afterwards, as he rattled the crossbar from twenty yards out.
Another wicked deflection put the home side back in the ascendancy; Mazzone celebrated notching his brace, twenty yards from goal.
With the game almost over, two subs linked up for The Met and only a tremendous reaction save by Rees stopped Tom Cursons making it five.
That respite proving to be all too brief however, as Alfie Brewster nodded home a left-sided delivery and a stoppage time sixth was coolly dinked over Rees by Cursons, after the sub had burst through the middle from the halfway line. The Police player took a deserved bow to round off the afternoon’s entertainment.
Match Report: Gareth Nicholas