Two late goals from substitute Kieran Rowe led Haywards Heath Town to a deserved victory against the Premier Division leaders.
Match Report: Gareth Nicholas
Alfie Young and Alex Parsons were the only players not involved on Saturday, that took part in the game at Chichester last week, while youngster Olli Starkey was handed his first start.
Worthing nearly gifted their hosts the lead after only four minutes, when Rowe charged down Roco Rees’ clearance but, fortunately, the ball dropped inches wide of the target.
Mo Diallo was then involved in two good chances for the Reds. Firstly, he pounced on a loose ball and bore down on goal, where he drove a low shot just the wrong side of the far post. Before Ollie Pearce got on the end of a long pass ahead of goalkeeper Sam Freeman and delivered a cross that our very own loanee, Luca Cocorrachio headed off the line from an unlucky Mo.
Heath hit back through Hamish Morrison, as the ball broke kindly for him on the right but Rees saved with legs at his front stick.
The home team went in front shortly after that when a corner was only cleared as far as Michael Wilson, at least twenty yards out in the inside left channel. He dispatched a screamer, on the half-volley, into the far top corner to open the scoring in spectacular fashion.
Reds soon restored parity however, with Pearce on hand to poke home the rebound from Danny Pappoe’s header from another flag-kick just three minutes later.
A patient build-up sadly wasn’t matched by the finish when the otherwise impressive Ollie Starkey lashed well wide of goal, a fair distance from it.
A raft of changes at the break did little to disrupt the flow of the game and it took just five minutes of the second period for Omar Koroma to get the first opportunity of it, by creating room on the edge of the penalty area and firing low past the far upright.
Despite only winning once in the league so far this season, the Blues continued to provide a threat.
They responded via Morrison again, with the right wing-back flashing a pull-back agonisingly across the face of goal and out the other side for a goal-kick.
One of the half-time subs, Ricky Aguiar fired in a free-kick that an alert Freeman slid over to the near post to keep out with his legs, while a set-piece effort by Jesse Starkey missed everyone and drifted out of play not long afterwards.
Momentum swung back in Heath’s favour when, shortly after the hour mark, they broke clear on a counter-attack from a Worthing corner; culminating in Jordan Clarke releasing replacement, Sam Remfry who calmly raced away to the left and slot beyond Rees at his front stick.
Two subs then combined for the away side with Reece Myles-Meekums going on the charge and nudging a pass to Mo Jammeh inside the box. Unfortunately, Mo failed to open his account for the club by burying his shot into the side netting.
The match took a sabbatical until the final few throes of the afternoon and, not for the first time, Red’s were architects of their own downfall.
Hesitancy resulted in Rees allowing the ball to roll under his foot from a short back pass; Rowe the grateful recipient as he gleefully knocked home into an empty net.
That episode came with only two minutes remaining on the clock and stoppage time brought more drama to make up for the lack of it in the final twenty.
Worthing seemed to go to sleep in defence; failing to clear a left-wing cross, giving Rowe the room to quite nonchalantly sweep home a second opportunity after Roco had kept out the initial attempt.
The last word though went to the visitors as Diallo eventually got his name on the scoresheet thanks to fellow goalscorer, Remfry tripping “mini” Mo (Jammeh), who had got in front of him, to present a free hit, twelve yards out.
Diallo duly delivered, sending Freeman the wrong way to bring a vague air of respectability to proceedings.