WORTHING Football Club progressed into the first qualifying round of the FA Cup with an entertaining 4-2 win over Walton & Hersham at a wet Woodside Road this afternoon.
Rebels led 3-1 at the break with goals from Gary Elphick, Omar Bugiel and Harvey Sparks.
Shaquille McIntosh pulled a goal back midway through the second half, before Ben Pope sealed Worthing’s win and the £1,925 prize money ten minutes from time.
A minute’s silence was held before the game in memory of the Shoreham Airshow crash victims, which included Worthing United players Matt Grimstone and Jacob Schilt.
Worthing went ahead after just five minutes when Rebels took a corner quickly and joint player manager Elphick was on hand to head home at the back post, with the aid of a slight deflection.
The visitors levelled on 24 minutes when Harry Mills glanced home a hotly-disputed corner, with Rebels feeling they should have been awarded a goal kick.
Walton & Hersham’s Shaquille McIntosh then had a low shot from 18 yards well saved by Worthing keeper Rikki Banks on 26 minutes, before Rebels went back ahead two minutes later.
Bugiel nipped in to get a touch to a long ball forward, which did not quite carry to Walton keeper Luke Badiali and the ball then fell favourably for Rebels’ striker, who tapped into the empty net from 12 yards.
Brannon O’Neill had a 30-yard free kick saved and Lloyd Dawes dragged a shot wide, before Worthing went 3-1 ahead on 38 minutes. Rebels skipper Steve Metcalf played Sparks through and he coolly slotted the ball past Badiali.
Rebels had chances to extend their lead further before half-time as Dawes fired wide of the far post, Sparks was just unable to get a touch on Ben Pope’s cross and Dawes then blazed over from eight yards after Will Hendon pulled the ball back.
At the other end, McIntosh headed just over from seven yards as the half drew to a close.
Walton & Hersham went close to getting a goal back six minutes into the second half when Aaron Watson headed the ball back for McIntosh, whose powerful close-range volley was blocked by Corey Heath, who was just a couple of yards from goal.
Both teams then had penalty appeals waved away - when Watson went down for the visitors, before Metcalf appeared to be pushed over at the other end.
Rebels went close to a fourth on 64 minutes when Sparks’ left-wing cross reached Bugiel in front of goal but Badiali was quick off his line to block the shot from eight yards.
Just two minutes later, Walton & Hersham made it 3-2 when McIntosh chested down a cross and then volleyed home a low shot from 15 yards, which sneaked just inside the post.
Worthing then had the opportunity to go two goals ahead again but Bugiel opted to pass when he got through and Walton half-cleared, before Sparks’ shot was blocked for a corner.
Walton then had another opening as the game became increasingly end-to-end as Watson cut on to his right foot but his low effort was well kept out by Banks on 70 minutes.
Worthing made it 4-2 ten minutes from time when Pope raced on to a long ball forward and bravely headed home as he just got to the ball before Walton keeper Badiali.
Watson almost set up a nervy finale, when he got in down the left and cut onto his right foot but Banks was equal to his effort on 88 minutes.
WORTHING: Banks; Hendon, Elphick, Hurley, Metcalf; Dawes, Axell, O’Neill, Sparks; Pope, Bugiel. Subs: Hurley (Elphick 59), Morey (Dawes 75), Barnes (Sparks 83), Piper, Buckland.
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