In our Feature Game of the Sussex Senior Challenge Cup Quarter-Final, it was back to The Camping World Community Stadium where Horsham hosted record, 21-time winners, Worthing.
However, Horsham’s long wait for an appearance in the final four continues thanks to a second-half surge from the visitors. Worthing scored three, second-half goals, to ensure their quest for trophy was still alive.
It was a tie that had all the ingredients for a tasty affair with Horsham and Worthing sat third and second in the Isthmian Premier Division.
The Rebels had sailed comfortably into this fixture following a 3-0 away win at the hands of AFC Varndeanians, whilst Horsham were taken all the way by Littlehampton Town, eventually winning 4-2 in extra-time.
It was a first-half that looked to be all one-way traffic from the off with Horsham pressing Worthing high up the pitch and controlling possession well.
The Hornets looked well on their way to book their semi-final spot when Rob O’Toole curled an acute effort from the edge of the box into the far corner, wrong footing Rebels stopper Carl Rushworth. This was followed less than 20 minutes later by a sensational strike by Lea Dawson from 35 yards out to double the lead.
Worthing, however, were rattled and determined to fight back and showed no signs of giving Horsham an easy night.
Winger Jasper Pattenden came close to pulling one back for the visitors with a curling effort from just outside the box which was tipped just over by The Hornets’ George Bentley.
Into the second-half and more rain kept pouring down on the artificial surface and it became very apparent that it wasn’t to be a game of pretty football but rather who wanted it more.
Worthing couldn’t believe their bad luck when Pattenden’s close-range effort was cleared off the line by a Hornets defender which the referee deemed to be legal despite huge roars from many Rebels fans and players for handball.
The Rebels, however, just wouldn’t give in and after seeing yet another shot cleared off the line, they were then awarded a penalty just past the hour mark. Striker, Oliver Pearce, stepped up and beat Bentley sending him the wrong way.
Horsham became shaky on the ball and with 10 minutes to play, Oliver Pearce sneaked in at the far post to tap in Marley Marshall’s deflected shot.
The Rebels though had no intention of extra-time and piled forward in search of a winner. It took them just five minutes after the equaliser to find it when, after some battling work by Marvin Armstrong, Reece Myles-Meekums had it put on a plate scoring at the near post.
There was a late scare for Worthing right at the death when Lea Dawson went for the spectacular again, this time an overhead-kick from the edge of the area which floated over all a bit too close for comfort as far as Rushworth was concerned.
Nonetheless, The Rebels held on to secure this year’s first semi-final spot. Next Tuesday Peacehaven & Telscombe face off with Lewes followed by Crawley Town and Eastbourne Borough the following week.
Also, next Tuesday, Burgess Hill Town will play Brighton & Hove Albion in the last round’s yet to play fixture. The winners will play Bognor Regis Town as a result.
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