Both sides came into the fixture after an unexpected weekend off, following the postponement of West Country trips to Weston-super-Mare and Truro respectively.
The Rebels were sat just one position and one point off the play-offs, in eighth. While visitors Dartford were sat 17th ahead of the contest at the Sussex Transport Community Stadium.
Adam Hinshelwood made just one change to his starting eleven that beat Havant & Waterlooville last week as Greg Luer replaced Jordan Adeyemi, who missed out on a place in the squad.
There were plenty of chances for both sides in the early stages of the contest. Ricky Aguiar and Ollie Pearce had chances inside the first ten minutes to break the deadlock, before Roco Rees was called into action to deny Luke Coulson who was sent through on goal. Rees rushed out to close him down and his save deflected the ball onto the crossbar before gathering.
In a frantic start, it was Worthing who took the lead. Glorious link up play between Pearce and Joe Felix led to the latter delivering a low cross from the byline into Danny Cashman who took a touch to control it, before firing into the top left corner.
Felix delivered another dangerous cross two minutes later, this time picking out Pearce but he couldn’t get his feet together to steer his effort on target, and the chance went begging.
On the half hour mark, Rees had a moment to forget in the Worthing goal. Looking to play out from the back, he picked out Darts striker Alex Wall who passed it into the empty net.
Ten minutes later, Worthing broke through the lively Cashman and he picked out a sumptuous reverse pass to send through Kane Wills in on goal. Wills was caught in two minds as he seemed to try to pick out Pearce at the far post, but his shot/cross beat everyone at the back stick.
Up the other end, Dartford took their lead. Coulson fired in a shot from range which Rees was equal to, but he couldn’t parry the shot away from danger. Instead, the ball fell to Wall who recycled possession, picking out Coulson with his pass, who fired in to the bottom right corner at the second attempt.
It went from bad to worse for the Reds and Rees just before half time. In almost an exact replica of the Darts’ equaliser, Rees looked to play out from the back but was closed down by Jordan Wynter who picked him off and found the back of the net, leaving the Rebels with a mountain to climb in the second half.
It was a quiet start to the second period, with Tyrell Miller-Rodney having the only chance for either side in the first fifteen minutes.
The Reds made a double change on 58 minutes as they searched for a route back into the game. Joan Luque and Bailey Smith replaced Nicky Wheeler and Odei Martin Sorondo.
Ten minutes later, the Rebels found that route through a wonder strike from Aguiar. Luque fooled everyone with a corner, floating it to the edge of the box to the feet of Aguiar who took a touch to control it before volleying into the top left corner!
Luque thought he got the Reds back onto level terms moments later as he fired in from the left to the far post. The linesman had his flag raised, however, and the goal didn’t stand. It can only be presumed that a Worthing forward was obstructing the keeper’s view.
On 77 minutes, Hinshelwood made his final change, swapping Cashman for Michael Klass.
In quite incredible style, Worthing clawed back level a minute later. Pearce danced past defenders on his way into the box before ‘dinking’ past Mitchell Beenery in superb style.
It was a horrible finish for the Rebels, however. Rees looked to play out from the back once again, this time from near his own corner flag. His long kick went horribly wrong as he picked out the visiting captain Coulson. He tried his luck from distance but the ball held up and Joe Rye looked to control. After doing so, he passed back to his keeper who was back home in between the stick, but Miller-Rodney intercepted tho short pass and poked home.
A frustrating night but one that the Rebels will look back on with lots of positives to take when the dust settles.
Next up, attention turns to the Isuzu FA Trophy as the Rebels head to Frome Town.