Sussex Senior Cup Round 3 Sat 18 December The Crucial Environmental Stadium
  • Pearce (22', 67')
  • Kealy (35')

Manager Adam Hinshelwood shuffled his pack following the midweek defeat at Margate, recalling Cam Tutt, Ty Mthunzi and Ollie Starkey in place of Pat Webber, Danny Barker and Marvin Armstrong.

The hosts nearly broke the deadlock after just two minutes, when Reece Myles-Meekums’ run to the byline resulted in a low cross that a stretching Dajon Goldong could only prod over the bar, from marginally inside the six yard box.

Goal scoring machine Ollie Pearce had his first sight of goal shortly afterwards but visiting custodian Lewis Carey was able to hold his low effort, eighteen yards out.

Pearce then came close to turning provider following a lucky break that he took full advantage of; charging down the inside-left channel and finding Golding, who found the safe hands of Carey, once more.

Midway through the opening period, the home team were gifted an opportunity to seize the initiative in the tie, courtesy of Ayo Olukoga’s sliding challenge on Joel Colbran being deemed worthy of a penalty. Typically unflustered, the ever-reliable Pearce stepped up to send Carey the wrong way from the spot, smashing home via the underside of the crossbar to make it 1-0.

Less than a couple of minutes later, Pearce was on the prowl again. This time his burst down the right wing ended with a low, driven delivery that Myles-Meekums missed by a toe nail as he slid in to meet it.

He more than made up for it though, by picking out an incoming Callum Kealy to sweep home in some style to double the lead heading into the break.

Despite seemingly stamping their authority on the game with a second strike, that lead was nearly halved as the returning Tutt gave possession away cheaply to the ever-dangerous Ollie Tanner. He quickly broke to the byline but a heavy touch just let the ball run away from him enough for Harrison Male to come out smartly and gather, without any further drama.

The early stages of the second-half saw new signing Deshane Dalling release Dinesh Gillela along the right flank. His deep cross went all the way over to Tanner on the far side of the area, who showed little concern when faced with Joel Colbran; still managing to engineer room for a shot which he flashed inches wide of the far post.

Freddie Parker, clean through the middle, looked like getting the guests back into the match, only for an expertly-timed tackle by Colbran to nick the ball off his toes at the last moment, as he shaped to shoot.

A Reds counter-attack, initiated by Golding saw him enjoy a piece of good fortune, with his pass inside to Kealy raching it’s intended target, thanks to a slight ricochet off a white shirt. Regardless, the former Rook swung a perfect pass out to Pearce on the right and the forward charged through the inside-right channel, before switching to his left foot, only to blast over the target.

Worthing’s number ten then came within a whisker of doubling his tally for the afternoon; narrowly failing to get on the end of Jesse Starkey’s inswinging corner.

He made no mistake moments later, when receiving a measured through ball, as the excellent Ollie Starkey took a high one down first time and proceeded to motor over the halfway line. Pearce dribbled his namesake’s soon-to-be assist into the penalty box and unleashed a fine, fizzing effort that hit the inside of the far upright to beat the despairing dive of Carey and hammer home the host’s third.

A decent turnout, just shy of nine hundred, continued to be entertained thanks to Kealy’s nod onto Myles-Meekums resulting in the winger creating space in the eighteen yard area for a shot that he curled over the crossbar.

Despite having a mountain to climb, the men of East Sussex were given a helping hand following a rare mistake by the otherwise imperious Mthunzi.

Dispossessing him on the edge of the penalty area, Bradley Pritchard was only prevented from making it a nervous final few minutes via the last-ditch intervention of the recently introduced Will Seager.

The last sixty seconds of the regulation ninety got underway with Colbran almost getting a piggyback off Tom Carlse, as he went airborne to head Jesse’s inviting delivery marginally the wrong side of the front stick.

Concluding an entertaining affair, Tanner took it upon himself to drill another teasing attempt dangerously close to the back post; his shot flying across the face of goal and out for a goal-kick, to effectively seal Worthing’s place in the next round.