WORTHING Football Club exited the Robert Dyas League Cup 4-3 at home to local rivals Horsham this evening.
The Hornets progressed thanks to a hat-trick from Tony Nwachukwu and strike from Max Miller, while Ben Pope, Will Berry and Trevor McCreadie were on target for Rebels.
The first half was end-to-end and Rebels trailed 3-2 at the break, despite leading twice.
The visitors could have taken the lead after just 14 seconds as Nwachukwu found himself through one-on-one but he shot wide from the edge of the penalty area with just Jack Fagan to beat.
Rebels’ Curtis Gayler had a cross-shot tipped over by Horsham keeper Gareth Williams a minute later, before Worthing took the lead on 11 minutes.
Gayler played the ball down the line for Alex Laing, whose cross was turned home at the back post by Pope.
It took Hornets just three minutes to level as Miller broke through the Worthing defence, held off Corey Heath’s challenge and slotted the ball under Fagan.
Fagan produced an excellent save to deny Tom Gilbert from Troy Williams’ corner on 20 minutes, before Horsham stopper Williams tipped behind Brannon O’Neill’s curling effort on 28 minutes.
From the resulting corner, Berry turned the ball home at the back post to put Rebels back ahead.
Miller flashed an effort across goal at the other end, before Horsham levelled again on 32 minutes. Nwachukwu raced on to Miller’s pass, rounded Fagan and tapped the ball into an empty net.
Worthing’s Laing had an effort pushed behind by Williams on 40 minutes, before Horsham took the lead on the stroke of half-time.
Kieron Tarbie played a superb ball through to Nwachukwu, who again got clear of the Worthing defence and fired home from 18 yards.
The first opportunity of the second half fell to Rebels on 51 minutes but Laing’s snap-shot from 15 yards was straight at keeper Williams.
Worthing introduced Lloyd Dawes for debutant Max Agnoly on 65 minutes and Dawes almost levelled within two minutes but headed Gayler’s cross just wide of the far post.
Gayler had an effort deflected just wide on 73 minutes, before Laing had a penalty appeal waved away when he went down moments later.
Horsham made it 4-2 on 75 minutes when Miller slipped Nwachukwu through and he slotted the ball past Fagan from 15 yards to complete his hat-trick.
Adam Hinshelwood’s side got a goal back just three minutes later when substitute McCreadie won possession in the Horsham penalty area and blasted the ball home from eight yards.
Fagan made an excellent save to keep out Gilbert’s header with four minutes to go, before Rebels almost levelled in the first minute of injury-time but Williams smothered McCreadie’s shot.