Visitors Horsham were clearly taking the game seriously as they fielded a strong side and, while home Boss Hinsh may have gone for a less familiar-looking line-up it, ultimately, proved to be one that was more than up to the challenge.
It came as little initial surprise, therefore, that it was the Mid-Sussex men who started the stronger of the two teams. Chris Sessegnon digging out a left wing cross from the byline that our trialist Goalkeeper punched one-handed as far as Jack Mazzone, who could only hook onto the roof of the net.
Hornet’s number ten tried his luck a tad further away from the target a few minutes later, when good work by Lee Harding on the right went unrewarded from twenty yards.
The Lincoln Green and Amber onslaught continued with Mazzone and Harding linking up again for the latter to supply the onrushing Shamir Fenelon but, sadly for the striker, he came within inches of converting a fizzer across the face of goal.
Home hearts were then very much in mouths, following a risky-looking early tackle by host trialist #4. Fortunately, the referee remained unmoved and play continued.
Fenelon tested the reflexes of the unknown ‘keeper, who passed it with flying colours, literally, when he tipped the forwards’ piledriver over the top in impressive fashion, as we approached the midway point of the first-half.
Captain (Luca) Cocoracchio was next in line to stop Harding opening the scoring, with a perfectly-timed challenge in the penalty area; staying on his feet and nicking the ball off the winger’s toes at precisely the right moment.
U-S-A, U-S-A could be heard ringing out around the ground after another fine save by our American friend, as he parried a well-struck effort by Mazzone, once Sessegnon had broken clear down the right to tee him up.
Five minutes before the break and Worthing, having soaked up an enormous amount of Horsham pressure, finally created a couple of chances of their own.
Cam Tutt won possession and drew a decent stop out of travelling netminder Mitch Beeney, at the expense of a corner.
Then, in the last sixty seconds of normal time, new crowd favourite Nodirbek Bobomurodov robbed Danny Dudley but fired a low shot straight at Beeney, who held on at his near post.
Hornets made two changes during the interval, bringing on Daniel Ajakaiye and Alex Malins for Sessegnon and Fenelon, with the former Crawley man making an instant impact.
Kyle O’Brien headed away Tom Richards’ inswinging flag-kick virtually under his own crossbar and, when Dudley used his noggin to equally good effect, it was Malins whose overhead attempt ended marginally the wrong side of the upright.
Reds swapped much of their starting eleven around either side of the hour mark, quickly establishing a two-goal lead to take the game away from the Velocity Cup holders in the process.
The electric pace of Bobomurodov on the right flank proved too much for the guests backline and his low delivery was tapped home, inside the six yard box by one of the recent replacements, Mo Jammeh.
Less than ten minutes later, a stunning piece of individual brilliance by Bobomurodov left poor Richards wondering what day of the week it was, as Uzbekistan’s finest export pulled-off an outrageous drag over prior to unleashing an absolute rocket into the opposite top corner of the net, to lay down a massive marker – and early contender – for goal of the season.
In all fairness though, Horsham, refused to give up on adding more silverware to their trophy cabinet, coming desperately close to pulling a goal back when Richards concluded a rapid break by sending in a ball that Ajakaiye was millimetres away from converting.
Typically, the action soon switched to the other end and Beeney stood up strong to deny (very) young sub Hoarty.
Following on from his also (very) near miss of merely a few moments ago, half-time change Ajakaiye laid on a good opportunity for Summer signing Mazzone, only for the Horsham ten to glance his attempt over rather than under the bar.
That miss would prove costly when, with five minutes to go, an inch-perfect ping right through the centre of the park by Cocoracchio picked out an onside Hoarty. The midfielder immediately capitalising on the huge amount of space afforded to him and striding forward into the eighteen yard box, before showing admirable composure for his tender years by cooly slotting past Beeney in an unflustered fashion; giving the impression of a seasoned campaigner and certainly not a first team novice.