For a club that has played over 300 matches in the FA Cup since first entering in 1899, Worthing have a remarkably poor record of reaching the 4th qualifying round. In fact, this is only the 11th time we have managed to get this far in the competition.
The first three occasions we reached the last qualifying round, we were playing in the Sussex County League. On 12th November 1927 we travelled to play Dartford, members of the Southern League, at their former Watling Street ground; we lost 3-0.
Seven years later, on 10th November 1934, we were again drawn against Southern League opposition. This time we travelled to play (the original) Guildford City and lost 3-1, R.J. Tabor scoring our goal; Guildford and their ground in Joseph’s Road both no longer exist, becoming defunct in the 1970s.
Two seasons later we finally managed to reach the competition proper, by defeating reigning Isthmian League champions Wimbledon at Woodside Road. Goals from John Duffield and Ray Ockenden gave us a 2-0 victory in front of the highest reported crowd for a Worthing home match: 3690 attended, giving receipts of £97. We lost 4-3 at Yeovil & Petters United in the first round.
It was a long wait for the next appearance in this round and, on a personal note, it was the first time that I watched Worthing. We were playing in Athenian League Division 1 and Wycombe Wanderers, our opponents, were in Isthmian League Division 1 (they would end the season as champions). The match at Woodside Road on 3rd November 1973 ended in a 3-0 victory for our visitors.
We would end 1982-83 as champions of Isthmian League Division 1 and, on 30th October, we faced Minehead (from the Southern League Midland Division); our opponents had been exempted to this round having defeated Swansea City six years earlier. A 2-2 draw was secured through a late equaliser from Micky Edmonds, following an opening goal from Mike Cornwell; the gate receipts exceeded £1000 for the first time in our history, albeit only by nine pounds. Four days later we won the replay 3-0 at Minehead’s Alexandra Road Recreation Ground, Cornwell netting twice and Bruce Aitken scoring a penalty. We beat Dartford 2-1 at home in the first round, but went out of the competition at Division 3 side Oxford United in the second round, losing 4-0.
On 26th October 1985 we played Bognor Regis Town at home in the 4th qualifying round; we were both members of the Isthmian League Premier Division at this time. Mike Cornwell scored but we lost 2-1.
In 1992-93 we were in Isthmian League Division 2, finishing the year as champions, and had to travel to Whaddon Road to face Cheltenham Town of the Southern League Premier Division on 24th October. We lost 3-2, with Darren Freeman scoring both our goals.
Two season later we were a division higher (and would gain promotion at the end of it) and again faced Southern League Premier Division opponents in the 4th qualifying round. Travelling to Meadow Park to face Gloucester City on 22nd October 1994, we drew 1-1 after Jimmy Quinn had given us the lead. Three days later, Jimmy netted the winner, after Darren Robson had equalised, when we won 2-1. A 3-1 defeat at AFC Bournemouth in round 1 followed, after having taken the lead.
Back in Isthmian Division 1, on 16th October 1999 we drew 1-1 at home to Dover Athletic, of the Conference, thanks to a late equaliser from Ben Carrington. Three days later, Tony Holden scored the only goal of the replay at the Crabble, in extra-time. We lost 3-0 at Rotherham United in the first round.
In 2018-19 we were back in the Isthmian Premier Division and in the last qualifying round we lost 4-0 to National League side Ebbsfleet United at their Stonebridge Road ground.