WORTHING Football Club won their first silverware for nine years on Tuesday evening when they lifted the Brighton Charity Cup with a 1-0 victory over Horsham at Woodside Road.
It ended a disappointing season on a high note for Rebels as they produced one of their best performances since Christmas in the win over their local rivals.
Division-higher Hornets included five former Rebels in their line-up but it was Worthing who started the brighter and had four penalty appeals turned down in the opening 17 minutes.
Terry Dodd went down under a Mark Knee challenge on six minutes, and again after a tussle with Jahmahl King on 10 minutes before they almost took the lead on 13 minutes. Sam Mannings played the lively Dodd through and his effort rebounded off the post to Mannings, who appeared to be bundled over by King but, again, no penalty was awarded.
Steve Metcalf then also went over in the penalty area under a Knee challenge but it was an optimistic appeal at best.
Rebels continued to bomb forward and Tom Lawley scuffed a golden chance from Metcalf’s delivery across goal, before Mannings had a 25-yard free kick easily saved by Horsham keeper Alan Mansfield.
Horsham came more into the game as the half wore on and had their first clear opportunity on 37 minutes when Knee broke down the left but his well-hit shot from a tight angle was pushed out by Rebels stopper Tony Di Bernardo.
Horsham then had a golden chance to take the lead in the last minute of the half but Anthony Shorey shot over from seven yards after good build-up play between Jamie Brotherton and Jack Page.
Horsham made a double substitution at the break and Billy Dunn came on and looked lively down the left but chances were few and far between.
Dodd latched on to a long Di Bernardo kick, held off Knee’s challenge, and shot across goal on 75 minutes before Rebels got the only goal with seven minutes left.
John Lansdale launched a long throw from the left-hand touchline and Metcalf rose highest at the near post to power a header into the top corner.
Horsham almost forced extra-time with the last action of the game but Dunn’s right-foot lob from 18 yards dropped a couple of inches over.
Rebels boss Chris White said: “It’s a nice way to end a difficult season and it’s nice to see people with smiles on their faces.
“It was our best performance for some time. The players showed what they’re capable of and I’m very proud of all of them.”
The last three seasons on the Tuesday after the league campaign has ended, Rebels have suffered play-off heartbreak. This year, at least they had something to cheer about, although they will be hoping to make a more sustained push to again be in the play-offs next year.
Local rivals Bognor Regis and Whitehawk will also still be with Worthing in Ryman League Division 1 South after they both lost in the play-off semi-finals on Tuesday. The final will see Leatherhead host Dulwich Hamlet on Saturday.
WORTHING: Di Bernardo; R.Timms, T.Timms, Farmer, Metcalf; Lawley, Manton, Huckett, Lansdale, Mannings; T.Dodd. Subs: Pulling (Manton 82), Charles (Lawley 90), Gaskin, Saunders, Peake.
For a Rebels’ season review see Thursday (May 5) edition of the Worthing Herald..