Goals from Joel Colbran, Mo Diallo and Omar Koroma sealed the victory for Adam Hinshelwood’s side, who have now won six out of their seven league games so far.
Koroma, who was signed from Carshalton earlier this week, came on as a substitute and scored a penalty to mark his debut with a goal. The striker has an impressive CV, having played for Norwich City and Portsmouth as well as winning 4 caps for Gambia.
As is often the case, Worthing dominated possession for the majority of the game. The Reds were perhaps unfortunate not to score more, having a goal chalked off for offside and hitting the woodwork twice.
East Thurrock are a solid, well organised side, and they did not give the visitors an easy job of it. For periods of the second half they looked the more threatening side, but Worthing’s quality shone through and the away side wound up comfortable victors.
The first chance of note fell for the visitors after 10 minutes. Reece Meekums floated a cute ball over the top of the East Thurrock defence for Mo Diallo, but the in-form forward couldn’t beat Arthur Janata at his near post.
Something of a collector’s item for a non-league game, East Thurrock manager John Coventry entered the referee’s book, earning his card with an outburst against the officials.
The hosts had a great chance to open the scoring after 20 minutes, seizing on a moment of chaos in the Worthing box. A quick throw-in had seen Zenon Stylianides played through on goal in a moment of confusion between goalkeeper and defence, but keeper Roco Rees recovered well to keep out his effort.
Ollie Pearce, top scorer for the Mackerel Men last season, carved open a fine chance for himself. Dajon Golding slipped Pearce in, who held off a number of Rocks defenders before aiming a shot at the far post. Janata managed to get a leg to the shot, and the rebound curled just out of reach of the waiting Diallo.
Defender Joel Colbran broke the deadlock after half an hour, turning the ball into the back of the net to net his second goal of the season. Ricky Aguiar delivered a dangerous whipped corner which cannoned around the penalty area, before sitting up nicely for Colbran to poke it home.
The visitors’ lead was almost doubled moments later, courtesy of a moment of outstanding quality from Aguiar. The young midfielder dribbled inside and out, cutting straight through the centre of the pitch, before curling a sumptuous strike against the upright.
Aguiar could be forgiven for thinking it wasn’t his day, hitting the woodwork again just moments later. Disappointment quickly turned to joy however, as Diallo fired the rebound into the roof of the net to double Worthing’s lead and send them into the break two goals up.
The hosts shot out of the blocks in the second period, creating their best chance of the game through Ezekiel Bademosi. The forward was played through over the top of the Worthing defence and entered a straight footrace with Rees. The goalkeeper came out on top and managed to smuggle the ball away, but it was a rude awakening for the table-topping visitors.
Stylianides went even closer a few minutes later, robbing Aguiar of the ball and forcing Rees into a fine stop.
Worthing found themselves down to 10 men on the hour mark. Cam Tutt stretched for a loose ball but Kenny Aileru got there first. Tutt’s challenge was high and rash, and the referee did not hesitate to brandish his red card.
Jasper Pattenden had the ball in the back of the net for the visitors, but the linesman’s flag cancelled it out. It was a marginal call which brought protest from the Worthing bench, but the decision stood despite their protests.
Substitute Omar Koroma, making his debut for Worthing, sealed the victory for the Sussex side. The former Gambia international preyed on a loose ball in the East Thurrock box, and was brought down in the process. Koroma took the penalty himself and calmly slotted it into the bottom right corner, ensuring that the Mackerel Men would return home with all three points.
The Rocks pulled one back in stoppage time through Bademosi. The ball landed kindly for Bademosi in the Worthing penalty area, and the forward found the net with a powerful strike.
The referee’s whistle brought an end to proceedings and both sides will probably feel the result was fair. Worthing dominated possession for the majority of the game, even after dropping to ten men, but East Thurrock made life difficult for Adam Hinshelwood’s side.
The victory leaves Worthing top of the Isthmian Premier League, level on points with Cheshunt having played two fewer games. The Mackerel Men are next in action on Tuesday, as they travel to mid-table Potter’s Bar.