It was West Sussex against East Sussex for the second time this season, with Worthing hosting Eastbourne – a side who they knocked out of the FA Cup back in September!
Jake Robinson scored in the tie, but it was a remarkable performance from goalkeeper Roco Rees that allowed the Rebels to progress in the competition.
This afternoon, Rees was at it again. The Sports created the first meaningful opportunity of the match, after a quiet opening 25’ minutes with Billy Vegar flicking towards goal following a cross from Eastbourne’s left flank. Thankfully for Worthing, Rees was alert as he sprang into action, denying Vegar with a strong left hand.
Minutes later, Borough would cause danger down the left once more as Odei Martin Sorondo struggled to deal with former Rebel Jack Paxman. The winger skinned the Spaniard before cutting inside and forcing Rees into making a low block at his front post.
Those saves proved to be crucial as they allowed the Mackerel Men to open the scoring in the 35th minute!
As club chairman Barry Hunter muttered “this game needs a goal”, Ricky Aguiar’s corner delivered. Eastbourne failed to clear Aguiar’s dangerous delivery due to the strength of Joe Rye who shrugged off a defender before swivelling and finding the bottom corner of Harrison Foulkes’ goal.
After making it 1-0 despite playing nowhere near their best, Adam Hinshelwood’s side were full of confidence which allowed them to go on and double their lead five minutes later…
Ollie Pearce pinged a precise pass over the top of the Sports’ back-pedalling back-line for Joe Felix, to burst onto with a fantastic touch, that allowed the forward to compose himself before calmly slotting past the helpless Foulkes.
The Rebels continued their momentum into the second half and were rewarded for their attacking intent in the 50th minute…
Ollie Pearce was at the heart of it once more, as he spun the defender with ease before his cutback was met by a tired clearance from an Eastbourne defender that could only find the incoming Ricky Aguiar who blasted beyond Foulkes to make it 3-0!
Worthing were playing some free-flowing football, and their Sussex rivals couldn’t handle it. A well-worked free-kick routine almost handed the hosts a fourth in the 68th minute, when Jake Robinson delicately nudged the ball back to Danny Cashman whose effort narrowly dragged wide.
Adam Hinshelwood’s team rarely take their foot off the gas, and it was no different in this one. Several players had opportunities to extend the Rebels’ advantage to four, but ultimately resilient defending from Borough meant that they had to settle for 3-0.
The three points see Worthing move up to fourth and above Torquay United on goal difference following their loss to Truro at Plainmoor Ground – while Eastbourne remain in the relegation zone, five points adrift of Weymouth.