A brace from Karly Akehurst against his old club saw ten-man Horsham beat Worthing in the Brighton Charity Cup for a second year at Woodside Road.
Former Hornet Billy Medlock briefly pulled Worthing level before Akehurst’s second put Horsham 2-1 up at half time.
The visitors had Charlie Farmer sent off at the start of the second half but some fine saves from youth goalkeeper Lewis Blaney, plus some poor Rebels finishing saw Simon Colbran’s Horsham retain the cup.
Ironically for Farmer it was his third straight Brighton Charity Cup win, having been part of the Worthing side who beat Horsham in 2011, and then played for Horsham in last year’s final against the Rebels.
Hornets boss Simon Colbran handed three youngsters a start against his former club. Promising teenagers Harry Smith and Jamie Ampleford were selected on the left of midfield and upfront, while youth keeper Blaney was given the nod in goal.
Worthing also had their youth keeper between the sticks, Jack Fagan starting with first choice keeper Josh James out injured, while striker Medlock faced his former club.
The visiting Hornets made a great start to the match and were ahead inside six minutes. Ampleford and Tony Nwachukwu combined well on the right and when Nwachukwu cut back for Akehurst the midfielder expertly swept home first time from the edge of the box .
Rebels playmaker Jamie Brotherton saw a free kick well saved by Blaney, and another former Hornet, Paul Kennett, was then denied by an even better save, Blaney somehow keeping out his header from a corner at the third time of asking.
Chris O’Flaherty could only shoot weakly at the Horsham stopper when the ball broke to him inside the box, but he made a far better connection on the half volley soon after, although the result was the same, another excellent save from Blaney turning it around the post.
The Hornets were happy to use their pace up front to largely play on the break, and after a good run from Smith, he slipped in McCreadie whose shot was blocked by Fagan.
The Rebels got themselves back on level terms on the 42nd minute. Horsham failed to clear their lines and when it came to Spencer Slaughter, he picked out the run of Medlock through the middle and the striker found a cute finish to beat Blaney and score against his former club.
Parity though lasted only two minutes, as indecision in defence, caused in part by McCreadie making a nuisance of himself, saw Akehurst capitalise on the loose ball an expertly lob in for the 2-1 half time lead.
Horsham’s hopes of retaining their trophy were handed a blow when centre back Charlie Farmer was sent off with the second half just a minute old.
Slaughter played Medlock in behind the Horsham defence again and as Farmer tried to recover Medlock took a tumble on the edge of the box and referee Mr Moore flashed the red card.
Horsham know all about Medlock’s ability from a free kick but on this occasion he slammed his shot straight into the wall as Horsham escaped a double blow.
The Hornets made a change, bringing youth team defender Greg Gander on, Smith unfortunate to depart, though Horsham twice came close, Ampleford’s shot/cross sailing just over the bar, and McCreadie denied at the near post by Fagan.
Medlock, looking determined to do damage to the side who released him in January, darted to the byline and pulled back to Rebels sub Luke Gedling, who fluffed his lines when he should have made it 2-2.
On 76 minutes Rebels left back Sid Adams rose to head a good chance over the bar from Jamie Brotherton’s cross as the hosts began to apply the pressure.
Medlock shot straight at Blaney after being found in the box by Brotherton, and the Rebels no 9 blazed another half chance well over a minute later.
Teenager Blaney was enjoying a fine afternoon and two good saves kept out Brotherton, before sub Nick Sullivan powered a free header wide from seven yards with only the goalkeeper to beat.
Sullivan spurned another glorious chance to score when a low cross came all the way to him but from around the penalty spot he hacked over the bar.
It proved Worthing’s last chance as Horsham hung on to beat their near neighbours for a second year and end a mixed season with a trophy.
Worthing: Fagan; Metcalf, Adams, Hurley, Hubert; Slaughter (Sullivan 64), O’Flaherty (Gedling 54), Kennett, Kirkwood; Brotherton; Medlock (Daniel 80).
Horsham: Blaney; Brockhurst, B King, J King, Farmer; Nwachukwu, Smith (Gander 52) , Akehurst, Harris; McCreadie, Ampleford (Bolaji 68).