After a run against the division's (clear) top three sides that had left Magpies with no points, no goals, being out of the RUR Cup and with a somewhat battered collective confidence. The visit of Worthing United who at the start of the day were sitting in the relegation zone could have been seen as a welcome arrival, but the hosts were missing 11 players on the day and the effects of the previous two weeks were not to be underestimated, they would have to show great character if they were to get anything out of the match.
Given the factors above for both sides it wasn't altogether surprising that the opening minutes of the match were somewhat uneventful as both sides were as tentative going forward as they were nervous about conceding the first goal. Indeed, it wasn't until the 18th minute that there was a shot on target when Mavericks skipper Owen Callaghan had a snapshot on the turn but it was straight at Harrison Hilfiker in the Magpies' goal. It was the visitors who would also have the second opening when Alfie Gritt suddenly found himself in space but he elected to try and lob Hilfiker, which was well off target. He would make amends three minutes later when he slipped Adrian Todd in beautifully down the right and the former Loxwood Academy and U21 player took his opportunity to cut inside before placing a left footed shot inside the far post past his former team-mates.
In response Charlie Pitcher had a similar chance for the hosts moments later but his shot across Fraser Tigwell wasn't as accurate and the 'keeper comfortably parried the ball to safety and it wasn't to be the first time that he would be thwarted by the visiting stopper. From the resulting corner the ball eventually broke to Byron Napper 20 yards out, but his left-footed strike flew well over. By far the best opportunity to level the scores came after Cecil Jee did well to get himself ahead of the recovering Joe Smith in the 33rd minute and was adjudged to have been fouled by the centre back and a penalty was duly awarded. Pitcher stepped up to take the kick and although he hit it quite firmly to Tigwell's left, the stopper did well to get down and push the ball away (above) to maintain his side's lead.
Five minutes later the visitors were awarded a foul in the penalty area, but this was for Hilfiker being penalised for picking up what was deemed to be and back pass from Eddie French. The angle and distance were against United though and both the initial effort and the follow up were blocked by the hoard of white shirts in front of them. The situation could have been worse for the Magpies just before half-time when Todd picked out Gritt at the far post but the big striker couldn't get enough power on his header back across goal and the danger was cleared.
The second half began with the hosts keen to turn their possession into more clear-cut chances and did just that in the 53rd minute when Toby House quickly released Michael Wood down the middle but his effort on the stretch went wide. Jee was fouled again in a precarious position two minutes later on the edge of the area, but Matt Daniel's free kick drifted over. And it was only another couple of minutes before the next opportunity was created with Napper quickly spotting Pitcher in the area but he couldn't get his header on target and that would prove to be his last meaningful action as he was soon replaced by recent signing Ed Davies.
Soon after the hour Wood and House linked up again this time with the latter being slipped in the right channel but his drive cross-shot somehow evaded everyone. Wood took matters into his own hands in the 68th minute when he did well to wriggle in from the right by-line, and although he chose to shoot from the tight angle, which was saved by Tigwell, he did so on the way down following a robust challenge from behind but play was waved on regardless. Davies would find himself in a good position was a minute later but he couldn't keep his shot under the crossbar. House was the next to have sight of goal following excellent vision from Harvey Enticknap but the alert Trigwell was out smartly to smother the ball. The 'keeper would have the better of that duel in the 89th minute too when House was this time found by Davies but the striker's mis-control provided enough of an opportunity for the danger to be swiftly extinguished.
The Magpies kept going in pursuit of the equaliser and so nearly had it in the second minute of injury time when Jee did well to get a cross in and it was House who found himself on the end of it again, but, as was the tale of his afternoon, he couldn't quite find the telling finish and his header clipped the bar, went over and was soon followed by the final whistle, which saw United raise themselves out of the drop zone whilst at the same time seeing the hosts drop to 10th and now look towards a local derby after Christmas at Broadbridge Heath for some much needed cheer.