Recent signings Luke Robinson and James Beresford were cup-tied, while Cam Tutt watched with them from the main stand. Joel Colbran, Danny Barker, Ollie Pearce, Jesse Starkey and Callum Kealy all dropped to the bench. Meaning starts for Will Seager, Dean Cox, Marvin Armstrong, Dajon Golding and Coca, sorry Luca Cocoracchio alongside the recalled Pat Webber and Club Captain Darren Budd.
Despite the wholesale changes, it was the visitors who made all the early running.
A typical driving run by Armstrong resulted in him supplying Reece Myles-Meekums to his left, only for the winger to fire over, with barely two minutes on the clock.
Just two more had elapsed when a Dean Cox free-kick, via the inside-left channel, was met by an angled Seager header but the defender couldn’t get sufficient power behind it to trouble Amadou Tangara in the Rock’s goal.
Armstrong’s penalty appeal fell on deaf ears and the hosts responded through a lightning-quick break from Portsmouth loanee Dan Gifford, following a slip by Cocoracchio. However, the Red’s centre-half recovered admirably to catch then keep pace with the striker, before an expertly timed tackle in the area ensured the status quo remained.
Worthing continued though to take the game to the home team and Budd won the ball in front of his own dugout to send Myles-Meekums scurrying away, after he’d got the better of Skipper Craig Robson. He soon found Golding on the far side of the eighteen yard box but the forward, who just can’t buy a goal at the moment, was cursing his luck once more as he watched his effort hit the crossbar.
Buddy and Meeky linked up again moments later, although they still couldn’t break the deadlock between them and only a brave block by Kayne Diederick-Roberts prevented Armstrong potentially opening the scoring.
Play switched rapidly to the other end, where Harrison Male safely gathered a low Jordy Mongoy drive that lacked the bite behind it to overly concern the travelling custodian.
Half-an-hour into proceedings the first yellow card of the evening was shown to Calvin Davies, as he slid across to interrupt the flow of an unsighted sighter. Cox’s set-piece giving Tangara plenty to think about on it’s way to missing the top of the goalframe by a matter of inches.
A cup of tea and a portion of chips drew tantalizingly closer, with just five more minutes to wait for those who hadn’t already made their way round to the queue for refreshments.
Those thoughts were put on hold when the unlikely source of Seager stepped up to drill home his maiden competitive strike since joining Worthing in the Summer, from divisional rivals and weekend opponents Leatherhead.
Davies conceded possession and Armstrong raced away to eventually find himself one-on-one with Tangara, who denied the midfield maestro but was powerless to prevent Seager calmly slotting past him, from marginally inside the penalty area.
The second period showcased plenty of endeavour by both sides, only for the respective ‘keepers to be largely untroubled, as Bognor turned the tide, until the last quarter of the contest.
Firstly, Nathan Odokonyero drew an outstanding save out of Male then a defensive error led to Golding looking around for black cats, when he could only observe his latest attempt come back off the far post.
There was still long enough left for Rocks to send visiting hearts a-fluttering when, in added time, Ash Leigh flashed a dead-ball, tight to the left-hand touchline, dangerously close to the target, as it somehow evaded everyone in the danger zone and went out for a goal-kick.
Profligacy was immediately regretted thanks to Pattenden looking up at the end of a barnstorming burst along the right flank and picking out Tanagra’s top corner on the opposite side of his net, to finally put the result beyond doubt.