WORTHING Football Club’s fine run in the Ryman League South Division was ended at fellow play-off hopefuls Herne Bay on Saturday.
Rebels had recorded four successive league wins to climb into the play-off places but a Harvey Sparks own goal eight minutes from time ensured that run came to an end.
Worthing remain fifth in the table, four points ahead of Whitstable. Seventh-placed Whyteleafe are five points behind Worthing with a game in hand, while Herne Bay now trail Rebels by five points but have played a game more.
Despite the defeat, Worthing boss Adam Hinshelwood was pleased with how much maturity his young side showed.
Rebels were without Brannon O’Neill and Will Berry and Hinshelwood said: “We were missing a couple of key first team players, so I knew before that it was going to be a difficult game.
“I was delighted with the way that a side with so many young players applied themselves.
“It was a really tight encounter and you could see that a moment of genius or a sloppy error was going to be the difference.
“The amount of goals that we have conceded in the final ten minutes of halves is ridiculous and something that we really need to cut out.
“I put it down to a lack of concentration from the players as they get tired but we need to improve our game management.
“We have been excellent in the past few weeks, so it was disappointing the run had to come to an end like this.”
Rebels were dominant for all of the opening half and could well have gone in to half-time ahead.
Lloyd Dawes proved to be a real menace in attack and he saw a left-footed shot hacked away on the line. Dawes was once again involved soon afterwards when his crisp shot was well saved by Jack Delo.
There was little between the sides in the second period and once again it was Dawes who went close but he shot just wide from eight yards out.
The home side were then gifted all three points when Sparks diverted a clearance beyond the reach of Jack Fagan and into the net.
Rebels host Walton Casuals in the league on Saturday.
WORTHING: Fagan; Hendon, Nicholls, Hurley, Piper; Gayler, Dawes, Bugiel, Sparks; Pope, Quirke. Subs: Rance (Quirke), Richards, Heath.