Enfield Town were unchanged from the side that cemented their place ahead of the rest with victory over Wingate & Finchley on Tuesday night. Meanwhile, Worthing tinkered a tad, following on from Wednesday’s epic three-pointer at Kingstonian, with Luca Cocoracchio coming in for Danny Barker, who took his place on the bench along with the fit-again Tom Chalaye who replaced Ollie Starkey, amongst the replacements.
The hosts seized the early initiative, as Percy Kiangebeni slipped in the prolific Mo Faal through the inside right channel where Harrison Male was down quickly to thwart the danger.
Home goalie, Nathan McDonald then showed his worth to the Towners by denying Dayshonne Golding, after Marvin Armstrong had demonstrated impressive strength and tenacity in dispossessing a hesitant Nathan Smith in the centre of the park, before supplying his teammate with a low, byline delivery.
Reds soon had their noses in front though, as Jasper Pattenden stole the ball off Lyle Della-Verde, a few yards inside the home half, then raced away and slotted beyond McDonald into the bottom corner.
Clear-cut chances were at a premium for the next quarter-of-an-hour but it was the visitors who threatened again, thanks to Golding glancing a back header from Jesse Starkey’s free-kick but only finding the safe hands of McDonald.
It looked easier to score ten minutes before the break when Smith got his dome to Della-Verde’s far-sided flag-kick, as he headed fractionally the wrong side of the rear upright.
There was a brief delay in play due to Captain Scott Thomas going down clutching his hamstring and he was inevitably replaced by Sam Youngs.
A set-piece shortly afterwards led to Joel Colbran getting underneath a shot that he lifted over the crossbar, near the edge of the penalty area. Starkey the provider once more.
However, just when it appeared Worthing were going to go into the interval holding at least some of the aces, Faal did well on the right before picking out Kiangebeni in the box to head home the equaliser, for his third goal in as many games.
Reds weren’t behind for long though and, barely ten minutes into the second period, an excellent advantage played by referee Jack Oxenham allowed Pattenden to regain his composure and surge clear of Andre Cooker to tee-up Cocoracchio for a cross that Reece Myles-Meekums nodded in.
We’d managed to reach the midway point of the half when Town levelled the scores again, thanks to that man Faal getting free on the left flank and embarking on an unstoppable run that culminated in a confident and composed finish past the outstretched hand of Male.
The league leaders almost edged back in front, after the ball broke kindly for Della-Verde but Colbran put his body on the line to block his effort.
Inside the final ten and Starkey caused some consternation in the Town rearguard, as they struggled to clear our number eleven’s corner. Colbran, at the other end this time, suffered the initial frustration of seeing a goalbound attempt kept out by a white shirt, followed in quick succession by Pattenden experiencing the same fate.
First goalscorer, Pattenden then mirrored Colbran by popping up in an “unusual” position and combining with Male to prevent Faal doubling his tally at the end of another barnstorming run.
Although the tall centre-forward got a second bite at the cherry, he could only hook over the top of the target.
As the “fourth official” indicated a minimum of two additional minutes to be added on at the end of the game, the Seasiders engineered a great opportunity to snatch all three points.
Substitute Cam Tutt made his way along the left-hand side of the pitch, before sending over a delivery that the home defence were only able to clear as far as Armstrong. The energetic midfielder spotted the driving run of Colbran on the opposite wing and timed his pass to perfection, with the subsequent cross being met by the recently-introduced Chalaye who, agonisingly, directed his header over the bar by a matter of milimetres.
A point proved a fair reflection on proceedings, although both sides will feel they could have taken maximum points from the afternoon.