A much-changed lineup saw Worthing twice let a two-goal lead slip, to be eliminated from the cup on penalties by a talented East Grinstead Town side.
Match Report: Gareth Nicholas
Only six of Saturday’s starting eleven kept their places as Manager, Adam Hinshelwood decided to rotate his squad although injury and work commitments were also contributory factors. Thus Tuesday night saw another return in goal for club legend, Mr. Jack D. Fagan and full debuts for Summer signings, Leon Moore at left-back, Sam Keefe at centre-half and Mo Diallo up top, while Jesse Starkey made his first start of the season after finally completing his suspension at Folkestone. Cam Tutt and Kieron Pamment were included amongst the subs.
It wasn’t a great start for debutant, Keefe when his mis-directed header on the stretch let Jerry Amoo in on the right-hand side of the penalty area but Fagan was there to save his blushes.
The visitors’ first sight of goal was provided by Ricky Aguiar, after a Reece Myles-Meekums corner picked him out from the left, just outside the eighteen yard box, with Ben Harrison blocking his shot at the expense of a second consecutive flag-kick.
Harrison then had a go himself, as the visitors paid for overplaying at the back by conceding another corner, only to head over the target.
Around midway through the opening forty-five minutes the away team won a free-kick, twenty yards out on the right. Up stepped Starkey to send an absolute beauty over the wall, past the despairing dive of goalkeeper, Jacob Adams and into the opposite top corner. Who needs Messi or Ronaldo?
However, the hosts nearly had an equaliser a few minutes later as Amoo raced away from Aarran Racine and rounded Joel Colbran but our right-back recovered well to block.
Former Kingstonian man, Amoo continued to be a threat all evening and his next burst of pace caused further problems when he reached the byline and got a low cross in towards teammate, Gil Carvalho, though Colbran got there too and the danger was averted.
A minute before the break and the Premier Division title favourites doubled their advantage as Adams failed to hold on to a Marvin Armstrong shot and Mo Diallo swept home the loose ball to open his account for the club.
Stoppage time almost led to a third but nobody could get on the end of Myles-Meekum’s delivery after he’d teased Jay Gasson on the left-hand side of the box.
The Wasps dominated the second-half and just six minutes into it had already pulled a goal back following a half-cleared flag-kick that was returned from the left by Gasson; Fagan saving the initial attempt by Michael Uwezu but unable to do anything about Louis Theophanus gobbling up the rebound.
Route one came close to restoring Red’s two-goal lead with Fagan finding Colbran who in turn released Jasper Pattenden down the right. His cross wasn’t properly cleared and Aguiar curled fractionally past the top corner.
Twisting and turning in the area by Theophanus saw Fagan keep out his powerful drive from point-blank range, then catch safely, once Colbran had hooked away the initial danger.
An offside decision denied Jerome Beckles a leveller before a thirty yard thunderbolt from Glenn Wilson hit the underside of the crossbar and bounced out without going over the line.
Despite all their attacking intent, it was actually Worthing who bagged a third when a rapid counter-attack led to Shaquille Gwengue bombing down the right flank and sending a ball over to substitute, Dayshonne Golding, who had time to take a touch to set himself before dispatching low past Adams to seemingly put the game to bed.
An experienced home team weren’t going to lie down though and Theophanus was slipped in on the inside-left to duly slip beyond a helpless Fagan, a little over ten minutes from time.
Then, in a dramatic ending to the regulation ninety, a right wing corner was lobbed back into the danger zone and punched one-handed by Fagan but only as far as Sean Clohessy. He laid the ball off to Amoo to fire in a cross for replacement, Dan Thompson to head in.
There was still time however for Myles-Meekums to run at the opposition defence but drag past the far post and some outstanding hold-up play by Theophanus to result in him rolling the Worthing backline and only missing the far upright by a matter of inches.
No extra time meant we went straight to penalties and after the first four successful conversions left the two teams tied at two-all, it fell to Armstrong to crack first with his spot-kick too close to the ‘keeper, giving Adams an easy save. The next three were scored, leaving Aguiar the task of finding the back of the net from twelve yards to keep the pressure on Town. Unfortunately, he couldn’t keep his effort down only and The Reds were out of the 2020-21 FA Cup at the first hurdle.