The Rebels slipped to their second defeat of the Easter weekend as they went down 3-1 at Bognor - but only after holding the title-chasing Rocks to a goalless first half.
In-form Jason Prior was the difference between the sides in front of a huge crowd of 1,319 at sun-baked Nyewood Lane, including a good number of travelling Rebels fans.
Prior netted his third consecutive hat-trick, twice finishing off moves involving ex-Rebel Matt Whitehead and Luke Nightingale in the first five minutes of the second half then finishing the job with a solo effort seven minutes from time.
Dan White powered home a stoppage-time consolation for Chris White’s team.
In the first half the Rebels had played a full part in a tight battle, with White, Callum Saunders and Mike Huckett giving home keeper Craig Stoner some nervous moments.
In truth the Rebels rarely threatened to get back into the match after going two down but their late strike - which came as White broke free in the box and drove past a helpless Stoner - at least gave the scoreline a bit of respectability.
The hosts, for whom two other ex-Worthing men, Stuart Axten and Ben Johnson, were also influential, still need to win at Chatham on the final day to make sure of the Ryman division one south title.
Worthing finish their programme at home to Faversham on Saturday.