Simon Wormull was forced into a late change to his provisional team, with Charlie Bennett replacing the absent Cheick Toure.
In front of an incredible crowd of 1616, packed into the West Stand of the Amex, Ross Murdoch got the Sussex Senior Cup Final underway. However, the Hillians got off to a poor start, when in the 5th minute, a weak back pass was intercepted by Jimmy Wild – who rounded Josh James and slotted home to give the Rocks an early lead. Just four minutes later, James was called into action as he produced a fine save to deny Jimmy Muitt. In the 15th minute, James produced another great save, this time thwarting Josh McCormick. With 17 minutes on the clock, Wild missed an absolute sitter from two yards out when, in truth, it looked harder to miss. In the 25th minute, the crowd were treated to arguably the worst miss of the evening so far, as Muitt rounded James before somehow blasting his effort into Row T of the North Stand. With half an hour on the clock, the Hillians finally began to settle and gradually grew into the game. Aaron Smith-Joseph was first to call Dan Lincoln into action – punching clear the wide man’s curling free-kick. Moments later, there were loud appeals for a Hillians penalty, but the handball claims were waved away by the referee. In the 43rd minute, the Hillians had their equaliser! Former Rock, Dan Beck tried his luck from distance, which Lincoln could only parry straight into the path of Pat Harding, who selflessly squared to Murdoch to roll into the back of the net.
Despite the early bombardment, the Hillians found themselves level in a Sussex Senior Cup Final and saw that the Rocks were now there for the taking. In the 49th minute, Beck drew Lincoln into a comfortable save with a tame effort. In the 59th minute, Tolulope Jonah did superbly to block Muitt’s cross away from goal, just as Bradley Lethbridge looked to pounce. Five minutes later, goalscorer Murdoch passed up a golden opportunity to fire the Hillians into the lead, as he only managed to steer ASJ’s low cross off target. In the 69th minute, Joe Felix, who continued to cause Bognor problems down the right-hand flank, forced a strong save out of Lincoln with a stinging effort. Simon Wormull introduced Jack Malleret for Ross Murdoch as the Hillians continued to search for a winner. Both Leon Maloney and Jimmy Muitt passed up the chance to wrap the game up for the Rocks, as they failed to trouble James with their respective efforts. The game came the a close with nothing to separate the two side after ninety minutes.
James was straight away called into action, as in the 93rd minute, the Hillians number one produced a fantastic save to deny Ashton Leigh. Felix, once again, forced two good saves out of Lincoln – as the game began to become much more open. Farrell Ryder replaced Aaron Smith-Joseph as the Hillians looked to inject some attacking impetus. But, in the 105th minute, Hillians hearts were broken as Doug Tuck, arriving late into the box, stroked the ball passed James and into the bottom corner to give Bognor the lead heading into the final fifteen minutes. Chad Field was stretchered off in the final knockings of the first half of extra time – and we wish Chad a speedy recovery.
(ET) HT 2-1.
The Hillians made our final change of the match, with Steve Sargent replaces Michael Wilson. In the 112th minute, Tom Cadman almost sent the mass of Hillians fans into delirium, but his half-volley rippled the wrong side of Lincoln’s net. James produced another fine save to thwart Lethbridge, before Ryder couldn’t direct his ‘thigh’ on target following some good work from Felix. The Hillians threw everything at the Rocks but just failed to find that illusive equaliser.
(ET) FT 2-1.
Congratulations to Bognor Regis Town on winning the Sussex Senior Cup Final.
We left absolutely everything out on the pitch for you Hillians supporters…but it just wasn’t meant to be. You turned out in numbers and we cannot thank you enough for all your support – you are an absolute credit to our football club.