Cam Tutt and Sammie McLeod kept their places after coming on against Eastbourne Borough, with Danny Barker and Dan Bowry also recalled to the team. Conrad Honore, Joe Rye and James Beresford started amongst the replacements, where they were joined by the fit-again Lewis White and new signing Javaun Splatt from Whitehawk.
A pre-match downpour ensured a slick surface and it was the hosts who got to grips with it the better in the early stages.
Indeed it required a top stop by Harrison Male after only five minutes to prevent Zane Banton’s volley putting the home side in front. Joe Neal releasing Devante Stanley down the right to deliver a cross that was partially blocked and looped up in the air before falling nicely for a Banton blast.
Chris Paul then exchanged passes with Stanley to pre-empt another right flank delivery that allowed Neal to tee-up Captain Shaun Jeffers to curl marginally over the target.
Reds’ first effort of the afternoon came via our Skipper Aarran Racine, who seized on a half-cleared Callum Kealy/Joel Colbran-led counter-attack but couldn’t keep his shot down.
Midway through the opening half and a Saints breakaway almost led to the game’s opening goal.
Reece Myle-Meekiums lost the ball in midfield to Kyran Wiltshire and he soon sent Paul scampering clear on the right. The former MK Dons youngster picked out Neal in the penalty area but Male was there to pull off fine save number two to keep City at bay again.
A cleverly-worked free-kick, won by Tutt following a foul on him by Paul caused confusion thanks to a Red Arrows-style running across the dead ball by Tutty himself and Colbran. This eventually culminated in Ollie Pearce taking the set-piece and playing in the former to drive down the left-hand side of the eighteen yard box, only for his low cross to be diverted late to safety by Callum Adebiyi.
The visitors really should have broken the deadlock just past the half-hour mark when a far simpler routine created time and space for Bowry at the back stick, thanks to Colbran’s free-kick locating the tall centre-half but he fired agonisingly wide of the opposite upright.
One final potential assist off the reliable right boot of Colbran was headed into the side netting by McLeod, as the half ended honours even.
Worthing came out after the break with renewed vigour and McLoed was the first to show it, once Tutt had done well to get to the byline and pull back to the ‘d’ for Sammie to flash one over the bar.
The South Coast side thought they had a penalty until the referee changed his mind on advice from the far side assistant.
Myles-Meekums’ short corner had been returned to him through Pearce’s backheel, though further progress halted by Chez Isaac bringing down Meeky. So, a free-kick it was and Colbran once again aimed for the far post, where Racine headed back into the danger zone and Danny Barker could only watch as ‘keeper Michael Johnson stopped his effort on the line before it was cleared.
Ten minutes later Reece himself blazed over, outside the box, at the end of a move that started with Racine spreading play out to Wills on the right and a subsequent set-up.
Saints responded when Tafari Moore drifted inside and nestled an effort into Male’s midriff.
A less threatening effort flattered to deceive after Iasac demonstrated good skill initially, although his resulting strike failed to trouble the scoreboard.
Two changes on the hour had introduced White and debutant Splatt to the action in place of McLeod and a strangely subdued Pearce and it was the first of those names who helped create an instant riposte.
Wills slipping in White to give Kealy the chance to reach the byline and Moore to beat Myles-Meekums to the ball delivered into the danger zone, by the tightest of margins.
An offside flag ruled out Meeky’s next attempt, following a good link-up between the recently introduced Honore and Wills.
It looked like something special would be needed to separate the two teams and, five minutes from time, White answered the call.
Cutting in off the inside-left channel and letting fly with an unstoppable effort that flew into the top corner.
However, that was almost wiped out from a mere twelve yards in the last sixty seconds of the contest.
A striker’s challenge by Kealy saw his dangling leg trip opposite number Huw Dawson. Fortunately, Male came to the rescue by guessing the right way to keep out Jeffers’ weak spot-kick and preserve the three points.