Danny Barker and Jasper Pattenden started in place of Will Seager and Dean Cox, who both dropped to the bench where they were joined by the fit again Marvin Armstrong.
Just two minutes showed on the clock when the visitors offered up the first chance of the match. Adam Crowther fired a long free-kick out to former Red Zack Newton on the right
where Pat Webber missed his header, allowing him to send in a low cross that saw Rowan Liburd kept out by a fine near post save from Harrison Male.
A few minutes later, Chevron Maclean dispossessed Pearce in the home half and broke down the left, skipped past Joel Colbran’s challenge, broke into the box then found Liburd, who passed onto Newton but Male was there to snuff out the danger once more.
The home side responded via a flowing team move that finally ended with Dajon Golding playing a neat one-two with Reece Myles-Meekums inside the penalty area, before shooting across the keeper and behind for a goal-kick.
Seconds later, Worthing had their noses in front thanks to a piece of quick thinking from Colbran.
Spotting the run of Myles-Meekums on the right, he took a long-range free-kick that the winger latched onto in the box and passed sideways to Pearce, who proceeded to twist and turn until finding the room for a shot that beat George Marsh just inside his far upright.
Almost midway through the opening period, the Ambers threatened again thanks to Newton’s long throw which Golding headed clear at the front stick, though only as far as Taylor Miles who turned and blazed over the crossbar twenty yards out.
Home appeals for a foul on Myles-Meekums fell on deaf ears as the alleged culprit, Miles simply carried on and slipped in Liburd who blasted a first-time finish high beyond the advancing Male.
Meeky came close to helping his side restore their advantage by capitalizing on the guests conceding possession, to release Golding with a ball from the centre circle. The tricky forward burst into the box, where Taylor McKenzie felt the full force of his goal bound attempt.
A minute shy of the half-hour mark and it really should have been 2-1. This time a flag-kick by Myles-Meekums was headed the wrong side of the rear upright by the incoming Aarran Racine.
Unfortunately, two more minutes further on it was the Hertfordshire-based guests who took a lead into the break.
Worthing’s efforts at playing out from the back were thwarted, as Jesse Starkey tried to play Webber’s pass first time “around the corner” but Cheshunt Skipper Joe Re spotted the danger and got a toe to the ball, to poke it through to a waiting Liburd who, seven or eight yards from goal couldn’t believe his luck as he tapped in one of the easiest goals he’ll ever score.
Approaching the hour, Reds got their tactics spot on to force the Ambers into giving up possession to provide Pearce with a sight of the target that he reached from distance, although Marsh was able to gather his low effort without alarm.
Cox, on shortly before the interval for the injured Pattenden, then delivered a right-sided corner that Racine got his head to in a textbook manner, only to head down and over the top.
Fellow replacement, Armstrong soon got in on the act; prodding through for Pearce to advance, on the engle, into the eighteen yard area and dump McKenzie on his derriere to create an effort that went straight at netminder Marsh.
Time moved on at a fair pace and we only had ten minutes remaining when a rare second-half opportunity for Cheshunt found Liburd in the penalty box but unable to get the better of Male.
A similar situation befell Armstrong shortly afterwards, only for him to have his fifty pence head on as he headed a great chance wide.
Heading on target had been a problem for the table toppers throughout the match, with Racine having a particularly torrid time of it.
His latest attempt landing on top of the target, following a lovely floated delivery off the right flank by Cox.
Inside the final sixty seconds, the Skip’s luck was summed up by connecting his dome with a Starkey set-piece from the opposite side, only to nod down and into the hands of Marsh.
Deep into stoppages, Myles-Meekums crossed from the left edge of the area and Cox’s header appeared to be deflected behind off the right arm of centre-half, McKenzie. However, despite vehement protests, the referee was unmoved and calmly awarded a corner.
The final throes of an entertaining affair continued to throw up yet more drama, with Meeky locating Pearcey who’s shot was blocked in the box by Crowther, recycled by Cox and Golding hooked onto the crossbar when he should have done better, right in front of goal.
Even after that, there was still time for the woodwork at the other end to deny Liburd a well-deserved hat-trick, when the visitors counter-attacked immediately; Jamie Reynolds eventually supplying the tall number nine to hit the underside of it without the ball crossing the line and the ref blew the final whistle without hesitation, to signal a rare defeat.