Mark Knee gave a vivid illustration of Worthing's attacking resources last night, just when they looked to have run out of ideas.

Last season's top scorer can only command a place on the bench these days but it was his piece of magic which set up Ben Carrington for the 80th-minute winner in an enthralling tussle near the top of division one south.

The chill around Woodside Road was a timely reminder of the long, hard winter ahead before any sides can can claim league honours and Knee is determined he has a part to play.

Having been hindered by illness and injury in recent weeks, he admitted: "The start of the season has been a bit of nightmare for me.

"I just wanted to get on and do some good things.

"We've got to make sure we take points here because Worthing have been in this division for God knows how long and we want to get out of it."

Rebels boss Alan Pook admitted: "It has been difficult for Mark but he's now bang in contention to play on Saturday.

"I thought this was a cracking game. It was good quality and we well deserved the three points.

"The first half display was the best we have played all season and we should have turned round 3-0 up."

That they did not was partly down to visiting goalkeeper Robert Frankland, who twice denied Worthing in the space of a minute midway through the first half.

Frankland got down sharply to block after brilliant skill from Wes Lopez, who chested down Owen Hill's cross before connecting with a volley.

The ball was immediately worked to Paul Rogers, whose ferocious shot hit Sam Francis and was looping into the top corner until the keeper instinctively stuck out a hand and diverted it behind.

Other than that, Rebels' main early threat came from two Carrington crosses, forced just wide by Lopez and then defender James Hall, who was perilously close to scoring an own goal.

Mark Pulling twice fired over and frustration was creeping in when, two minutes from the break, Lopez's volley in front of an open goal hit the ground and reared up over the crossbar.

Worthing were less incisive after half time and, though Athletic did not create much themselves, there was always the suspicion they might nick a goal on the break.

That almost became reality on 77 minutes when Ross Standen produced a point blank range block from recently introduced substitute Nigel Webb.

Three minutes later however, Rebels got the breakthrough thanks largely to their own attacking option off the bench.

Knee span away from three markers and played a ball into the edge of the area where Carrington turned away from his marker and placed a precise a right foot shot low inside the post.