WORTHING Football Club overcame a spirited Steyning Town side 4-2 on Wednesday evening to progress into the quarter-finals of the Sussex Senior Cup.
Rebels will face Burgess Hill in the last eight after a relatively comfortable victory against a side who sit 46 places below them in the non-league football pyramid.
While Steyning never really looked capable of causing a major upset, they acquitted themselves well and, at times, matched their more illustrious opponents.
Worthing went ahead after only five minutes. Brannon O’Neill received the ball from TJ Richards before he took a touch and crashed a 25-yarder past the despairing Aaron Jeal.
Despite fears that an early goal would open the floodgates, that never materialised and Steyning went close to an equaliser through Alfie Gritt almost immediately, but Worthing keeper Jack Fagan reacted smartly to smother his shot.
Richards fired across goal and O’Neill poked wide as Worthing threatened a second goal, which did arrive ten minutes before the break. Dawes ran free down the left and crossed for the on-rushing Will Berry, who powered in a header from close range.
Steyning reduced the deficit on 55 minutes. Lewis Levoi’s run and cross picked out Kerry Parsons, who was on hand to flick in a rare goal from close range and pull his side back into the game.
Town’s Matt Dodd then lashed wide and Callum Towse forced Fagan into a save during an excellent spell from the visitors but Rebels soon re-established their two-goal buffer.
Dawes ran through one-on-one and placed his shot home on 73 minutes, before the hosts made it 4-1 nine minutes from time. Steyning keeper Jeal produced a superb block to keep out Dawes, but was powerless to prevent substitute Jack Barnes’ clipped close-range finish from the rebound.
To their credit, Steyning continued to press forward and added respectability to the scoreline when substitute Jack Boxall volleyed in a fine consolation effort in the closing minutes.
Worthing manager Adam Hinshelwood said: “It was pleasing to win against a quality side who still play a good standard of top level football and it was important not to underestimate them.
“Injuries and unavailability forced my hand with my team selection. We had eight players under 20 out there and they all did very well, so that’s pleasing going forward and to make the last eight of a prestigious competition is fantastic
“I want to give credit to Steyning. They gave us a real game and were a credit to their league tonight, we played well and did the job and are looking forward to the next round.”
Steyning manager John Suter said: “We did really well against a very good young side who play semi-pro football two leagues above us, so put into that context we have done very well.
“It was great for the boys to test themselves against higher quality opposition. We scored two very good goals and, while I accept the scoreline could have been five or six, we certainly go away from tonight with our heads held high.”
WORTHING: Fagan; Wooton, Hurley, Berry, Sparks; Dawes, O’Neill, Quirke, Bugiel; Richards, Rance. Subs: Pope (Richards 65), Barnes (Wooton 70), Gilbertson (Bugiel 77).
STEYNING: Jeal; Hare, Finch, O.Pickup, Parsons, Kennett; Dodd, Towse, Milner, Levoi; A.Gritt. Subs: Early (Pickup 65), J.oxall (Towse 76), Warr (Milner 82), Abbott.