Whyteleafe's hopes of a surprise victory at League leaders Worthing were blown away in gale force winds. Heavy overnight rain had also led to a spongy pitch which made controlled football very difficult for both sides.
In the absence of Fleming, Leafe lined up with Danny Oakins and Ryan Royston as central defenders, and Ellis Conroy and Rhys Coleman at wing back.
Leafe had the better of the early exchanges with Mark Hammond's 6th minute effort only narrowly wide.
Eight minutes later a long Sam Butler free kick hit the bar and dropped down onto the line. Leafe's frantic appeals for a goal were waved away.
From the resulting clearance Ross Treleaven found space on the wing, but his centre was squandered and this was to prove the pattern of much of Worthing's play.
Leafe's best move to date saw flowing passes from Ryan Royston to Sam Butler and on to Steffan Ball in space, but the final shot was woefully underhit, probably a victim of pitch conditions.
Jason Goodchild was tackling strongly in midfield and one challenge on Ryan Woodford, although unpenalised, led to a long period of treatment for the Worthing debutant.
A Paul Scott centre was handled in the penalty area, but the referee judged it as "ball to hand".
The home side came more into the game towards the end of the half and their best chance was provided by Ross Treleaven for Gavin Gordon, but the Worthing central striker was in wasteful mood all afternoon.
Just before the break, Woodford went down for the third time and was finally stretchered off in what looked like a severe leg injury.
The wind seemed to increase still further in the second half and was now blowing directly in the faces of the Leafe players. Its effect was shown straightaway, as a Treleaven shot was caught by the wind and sailed, not just over the bar, but clean over the row of two storey houses in the street behind. Even Leafe's giant goalie O'Hara could not get to that one.
In the fifth minute Leafe found the net when Steffan Ball converted a Sam Butler cross but was adjudged to be offside.
With the wind behind them and O'Hara's clearances carrying barely halfway into his own half, Worthing came more into the game; Ross Treleaven and Jamie Brotherton being especially troublesome.
After a succession of corners young substitute Adam Mitchell supplied Ben Johnson with a chance, but the home side's midfielder hit a back stanchion.
Eleven minutes from time Worthing got the only goal when Jamie Brotherton, once a loan player at Leafe, scored with a firm header.
Leafe then pushed forward, with Danny Oakins moving upfield leaving them vulnerable to breakaways at the back. On one occasion Worthing found themselves in a three on one situation but contrived to waste the opportunity. O'Hara also had to move sharply to cut out an underhit backpass from Rhys Coleman.
This was a gritty performance from Leafe against strong opponents in trying conditions, with central defenders Oakins and Royston firm at the back, and a tireless display from their veteran captain Paul Scott.
Whyteleafe: O'Hara, Conroy, Coleman(R), Wilson, Oakins, Royston, Ball (McDowall 75), Goodchild, Scott, Hammond (Platel 75), Butler.
Unused sub: Aldous