Worthing Football Club lost their Boxing Day derby 2-1 at home to Horsham at a rain-soaked Woodside Road.
The defeat brought to an end Rebels’ five-game unbeaten Ryman League Division 1 South run in front of Worthing’s highest home crowd of the season, of 341.
Hornets, managed by former Worthing boss Simon Colbran, took the points with two goals in the opening 16 minutes of the second half to inflict Rebels’ seventh home defeat in 10 league games.
Horsham included five former Worthing players - Michael Hunter, Matt Simpson, Charlie Farmer, Scott Tipper and Wayne Clarke - and a swirling wind and heavy rain throughout made playing conditions difficult and chances were few and far between in the first half.
The clearest opening came four minutes before half-time but Chris O’Flaherty poked the ball wide from six yards after Matt Daniel had pulled the ball back from Luke Gedling’s ball over the Horsham defence.
Hornets, playing against the wind in the second half, could have taken the lead 15 seconds after the restart when Clarke bundled his way through but shot wide from 12 yards with just JJ Banasco-Zaragoza to beat.
Rebels then had a few half-chances as Jamie Brotherton had a shot blocked with team-mates up in support, Chris O’Flaherty had a penalty appeal turned down and saw a corner skim the top of the bar and Scott Kirkwood fired a 20-yard free kick straight at Horsham keeper Hunter.
Horsham went ahead on 55 minutes when Eddie Koboah got clear down the right and delivered an inch-perfect low cross for Tony Nwachukwu to score from six yards.
Brotherton headed Kirkwood’s free kick wide when well placed two minutes later and the visitors doubled their lead on 61 minutes.
Tipper’s shot was deflected into the path of Simpson, who brilliantly chipped the ball into the far top corner from 15 yards.
Worthing went close two minutes later when Hunter palmed away Matt Hurley’s lob.
Conditions became more and more difficult as the game went on, with standing water slowing up the ball, and it took until the third minute of injury-time for Worthing to get a goal back when Steve Metcalf knocked the ball home from inside the six-yard box.
Rebels delivered a couple of crosses into the box in the time remaining but Horsham dealt with them comfortably to hold on to the win.
Worthing dropped to ninth place in the table with the defeat, while Horsham moved up to 14th.
WORTHING: Banasco-Zaragoza; Metcalf, Bryant, Hurley, Hubert; Daniel, Kirkwood, Gedling, Lawley, O’Flaherty; Brotherton. Subs: Romain, Pamment (Lawley, O’Flaherty 65), Mancktelow (Daniel 79), Stillwell.