It's boom time for old foes Lewes and Worthing – and Darren Freeman was delighted to be on the winning side this time.

A crowd of 1,124 saw Rooks grab a thrilling 4-3 win at Woodside Road in the race for a Bostik Premier play-off place.

It was the reverse result from when Rebels won an epic at the Dripping Pan earlier in the campaign.

A classic contest featured some stunning goals – including James Hammond from the halfway line – two red cards and a tense finish.

Fans of both teams lapped it up as rival bosses Freeman and Adam Hinshelwood – both former Albion favourites – pitted their tactical wits against each other.

Bognor, Burgess Hill and Whitehawk are also in the division, making for some exciting derbies and bumper crowds.

Freeman reckons non-league football in this part of the world can have rarely had it so good.

The Lewes boss said: “There were more than 1,200 people there and I bet they would all come back to see another Worthing v Lewes.

“Over the two league games this season it’s 7-7!

“We’ve had something similar with Bognor. It’s quite incredible.

“On Saturday you had two teams trying to do the right things and it was a really good tactical battle with two teams trying to outwit each other.

“It was brilliant – and especially good because both clubs have got some good youngsters coming through.

“Adam has done a great job down at Worthing. They have come-on as a club massively.

“It’s a lovely stadium, there was a great atmosphere and that’s credit to everyone there.

“The fans got on. You could hear all the banter.

“It was a great day out, a great advert for this league and Sussex football.”

Worthing had a few early near misses but were reduced to ten men on 26 minutes after Ricky Aguiar accepted a short pass off his keeper Kleton Perntreou but then was dispossessed.

A penalty was initially given for his foul on Omarr Lawson on the edge of the box.

The referee changed that to a free-kick just outside the area on the advice of his assistant – but showed Aguiar a straight red for denying a clear goalscoring opportunity.

Worthing survived the set-piece but not so on 31 minutes when Hammond put the ball down for a free-kick on the halfway line and guided a shot over Perntreou and in via the underside of the bar.

Replays proved the assistant was spot on to award the goal even though the ball span back out of the net after it bounced behind the line.

Ollie Pearce levelled with a superb free-kick over the wall but Worthing then lost star attacker David Ajiboye to a hamstring injury.

The contest edged further in Lewes’s favour when Charlie Copolla fired a cracker past Perntreou from the edge of the box in added time.

Freeman felt the pick of the goals was arguably that which put his side 3-1 up on 54 minutes.

It was a tap-in for Luke Blewden but the Rooks boss loved the build-up which led to Keiran Pamment’s shot being parried by Perntreou.

Recent signing Jalen Jones headed home for Rebels on 71 minutes, his second goal in two games, and Lewis Carey saved well to deny Joel Colbran an equaliser.

Lewes appeared to have wrapped up the points in added time when Callum Overton drilled a shot past Perntreou.

But Pearce’s penalty set up a tense few moments at the end.

By that time Rebels were down to nine after Darren Budd was shown a second yellow in the penalty incident.

Hinshelwood said Budd tried to intervene when Lewes attemtped to delay the taking of the spot-kick Freeman said: “It was mad to be honest and, for the neutral, an incredible game to watch.

“I went to watch them at Whitehawk in the week and we had a plan to make them play a certain way, which I think worked.

“I thought we made them go long, which isn’t what Worthing want to do.”

Hinshelwood was pleased with his side’s work with 11 versus 11 but felt Aguiar’s red card was the key moment.

He said: “I thought Kleton had no need to play that pass to Ricky.

“He was trying to force it and they had three players around Ricky.

“In the end I thought a free-kick and a yellow would have been fair.

“It can’t be changed now. We are getting used to playing with ten men.

“I can’t fault the lads’ character. We had nine at the end and their fans were calling for full-time.

“It’s disappointing to lose but we can still go level on points with second place if we win (tomorrow) at home to Dorking Wanderers.”

Rebels have a growing injury list but they were pleased with 16-year-old Jasper Pattenden, who made his debut.

And, apart from the disappointment of losing this time, they are relishing the excitement of the season.

Hinshelwood said: “Anyone who came along would agree it was a really entertaining game.

“We want to provide that level of entertainment but obviously with us on the winning side of it.”