A spirited second-half performance wasn’t enough to help Lewes to three points in their first local derby of the season, as the ten-man Rooks fell to a disappointing defeat at Worthing reports Tom Harper.
Darren Freeman made one change to the side that drew 1-1 with Enfield Town on the opening day of the season, with Stefan Ilic replacing Charlie Coppola in the starting line-up.
The opening stages saw challenges flying in from both sides, but there were no chances of note as defences stayed on top early on.
This changed on 16 minutes as Worthing took the lead through Alex Parsons, who reacted quickest to score on the rebound after Lloyd Dawes saw his effort come back off the post.
Taking the lead galvanised the hosts, with Nathan Stroomberg forced into a smart save at his neear post to deny Reece Myles-Meekums just minutes later.
The Rooks found their way back into the game as the half progressed though, and were unfortunate not to equalise when Stacey Freeman headed a Stefan Ilic corner just wide.
They were made to pay for this miss four minutes before the break when Parsons latched onto a Darren Budd through-ball and finished past Stroomberg to score his second of the game and double Worthing’s lead.
A difficult task became even tougher for Lewes just before half-time, as Ilic was shown a second yellow card for a late challenge on Worthing goalkeeper Rocco Rees.
The hosts made the most of their numerical advantage just four minutes into the second half, with Budd left unmarked at a corner to head past Stroomberg from close range.
It would have been easy for the Rooks to crumble at this point, but if anything, conceding a third goal seemed to take the pressure off, and they immediately pulled a goal back in spectacular fashion through Jordy Mongoy, who sent a superb half-volley from the edge of the area past Rees and into the top corner.
Mongoy nearly scored again minutes later, but saw his powerful strike pushed round the post by Rees.
Lewes were playing their best football of the game at this point and very nearly pulled another goal back just after the hour, with Dayshonne Golding hitting the bar with a powerful effort at the end of an impressive team move.
Worthing enjoyed plenty of possession in the closing stages but were finding it difficult to turn it into clear-cut opportunities against the hardworking and spirited Rooks, although Stroomberg was forced into a fine save to keep out a Jesse Starkey free-kick.
The final chance of the game fell to Lewes deep into stoppage time, as Rees reacted superbly to push a deflected Kieron Pamment strike over the bar.
This was a disappointing result for Lewes in the first local derby of the season, but they can take plenty of encouragement from a spirited second-half display with ten men.
Highlights of the game can be viewed here.
The Rooks will hope to build on this and record their first win of the season when they welcome Bowers & Pitsea to the Pan on Saturday, kick-off at 3pm.
Worthing: Rees, Colbran, Jones, Budd (Armstrong 71), Barker, Tennent, Dawes (Ayoola 59), Sherman (Doughty 79), Parsons, Myles-Meekums, Starkey.
Unused Subs: Stevens, Pearce
Booked: Sherman, Doughty
Lewes: Stroomberg, Day, Ilic, Dome-Bemwin, Chappell, S. Freeman, Pamment, Hammond, Mongoy, Coppola, Adeyemo (Bown 77 mins)
Unused Subs: Barclay, Fagan, T. Freeman, Diedrick-Roberts.
Booked: Ilic, S. Freeman, Hammond, Adeyemo
Sent off: Ilic