In the midst of an injury crisis – and already missing Captain Aarran Racine at the start of a three-match ban, after his red card at Braintree last week – Manager Adam Hinshelwood recalled Luca Cocoracchio from a temporary spell at Horsham for a National South and seasonal debut. Danny Barker and Lewis White joined a growing crocked list, while Sammie McLeod and Cal Kealy started on the bench. Recalls, therefore, went to Dan Bowry, Javaun Splatt, Moe Shubbar and Mo Jammeh, with Reece Myles-Meekums well once more for a replacement spot.
The hosts got off to a cracking start thanks to James Beresford winning a penalty, when he was tripped on the left hand side of the box by Ollie Chamberlain just three minutes in. Home debutant Ibby Akanbi, surprisingly, stepped up to take it but fired a tame effort straight down the middle to give goalkeeper Jack Bycroft an easy save.
However, he soon made amends for that miss by bagging his maiden strike in a red shirt.
Jammeh’s ball along the left flank found Ikanbi who held off visiting Skipper Nick Grimes, played a one-two with fellow forward Splatt and broke into the eighteen yard area to flick a low finish beyond the outstretched hand of Southampton loanee Bycroft.
He might have made it two before the midway point of the half, only to miss the target as Bycroft ventured outside his box a second time in quick succession, in a failed attempt at clearing the danger created by (Joe) Rye’s range finder.
Nat Jarvis and Lee Lucas had half-chances for Town, with the former also heading wide via a blocked Dave Sims-Burgess shot before the man so good they named him three times set up the simplest of equalisers.
Taking a short pass from Chamberlain, Lloyd James looked up and located Sims-Burgess on the opposite side of the area to head home unmarked and level the score.
A long distance attempt by Chamberlain that landed comfortably in the hands of Harrison (Male) closed out an opening forty-five that gave both Bosses food for thought at the break.
The goalie’s gloves were warmed once again, ten minutes after the turnaround when James nestled the ball in them from his free-kick.
Something Shubbar didn’t do following a promising run that ended with an airborne attempt sailing over the top.
Crawley capture Shubbar came much closer – some time later – though by forcing Bycroft into a fine fingertip save, at the expense of a corner – as his deadball delivery, emanating from a foul on Ollie Pearce a tiny fraction outside the eighteen yard box on the right, caused concern for the man in green.
Foulston’s free-kick did likewise for The Peacocks but any fears were quickly quashed due to an offside Grimes.
Shubbar continued to be a thorn in the side of both the guests on the pitch and the neighbours off it; a driving run through the centre of the pitch by Captain Kane (Wills) met with an off-target curler.
Set-pieces were proving critical to Worthing’s hopes of claiming a first win in six matches and Shubbar created a carbon copy of his earlier effort when Bycroft tipped it over the top, again.
Clearcut chances had been a fairly rare occurrence throughout a tight tussle between last term’s Isthmian and Southern (South) League Champions, as evidenced by proceedings reaching the final few minutes and Pearce carving out one of the best of them.
Pearcey’s preciseness so nearly reaping rewards, thanks to a right wing cross that substitutes Kealy missed with an attempted header and the incoming, stretching Myles-Meekums performed a similar act with, although using his foot in this instance.
Agony may have turned to ecstasy in the fifth and final scheduled minute of stoppage time.
The recently introduced Adam Adam laid off to Shubbar at the culmination of some neat and well-worked approach play but, sadly, Moe couldn’t keep his effort low enough to at least test Bycroft on one last occasion.