ANY dreams Worthing Football Club had of reaching the Sussex Senior Cup final and playing the first match at Brighton & Hove Albion’s Amex Stadium are over after a 3-2 defeat at home to County League Rye United on Tuesday.
With boss Chris White not in attendance, owing to a family commitment, Rebels did not get going in the first half of the last-16 tie and Rye showed why they are a side who have reached the quarter-finals of the FA Vase.
They went ahead on 18 minutes when Duncan McArthur curled a free kick over the wall from 20 yards and it seemed to squirm under Tony Di Bernardo’s dive.
Things got worse for Rebels 11 minutes later when Danny Leach was given too much space and he fired low into the bottom corner from 20 yards.
Di Bernardo stopped a third for Rye on 35 minutes when he blocked Danny Ellis’ shot as Rebels failed to have an effort on target in the first half.
Top-scorer Terry Dodd, back after an elbow injury, came on for the start of the second half and that livened up Worthing. John Lansdale had a free kick well saved by Paul Nessling and Steve Metcalf sliced wide before George Gaskin gave Rebels hope from Tom Lawley’s cross on the hour.
Rye restored their two-goal lead within six minutes when Ellis skipped through Worthing’s defence and pulled the ball back for Matt Maclean to net from close range.
Rebels pushed on for the remainder of the match and, after Dodd had an effort pushed behind, Gaskin tapped home Kevin Townsend’s centre with 12 minutes left.
Worthing bombarded the Rye penalty area in the closing stages and Tony Timms almost forced extra-time in injury-time but headed Lawley’s cross inches over from eight yards.
Based on their second-half performance, Rebels could argue they deserved to force extra-time but, in the end, they got what they deserved for their first-half showing.
WORTHING: Di Bernardo; R.Timms, T.Timms, Metcalf, Farmer; Skinner, Lansdale, Pulling, Manton, Lawley; Gaskin. Subs: Dodd (Skinner 45), Townsend (Farmer 51), Saunders, Charles, Peake. Att: 87.