- Albion are knocked out of the Sussex Senior Cup
- Bognor hit five goals at Culver Road
- Haydon Roberts pulls a goal back for the Seagulls
- The Rocks will play Burgess Hill Town in the final
Brighton & Hove Albion’s journey in the Sussex Senior Cup came to an end this evening at Culver Road, as Bognor Regis Town ran out 5-1 winners in the semi-finals against a young Seagulls outfit.
Despite a second-half strike from Haydon Roberts, Bognor’s experience proved too much for Albion’s side - comprised of mostly under-18s - as the Bostik Premier Division team found the back of the net five times on the south coast.
Albion made a slow start to the game and paid the price when Harvey Whyte pulled the trigger from long range and saw his low-driven effort go in off the post to break the deadlock after just three minutes.
Two minutes passed and the Seagulls found themselves further behind — Mason Walsh’s shot looped into the air, allowing Bradley Lethbridge time to direct a header past Billy Collings into the top corner.
The Rocks were riding a wave of confidence after their clinical early showing, and the mountain became steeper for Albion when Leon Maloney swept home a third goal from Lethbridge’s clever back-heel on 14 minutes.
Matt Everitt recorded Albion’s first attempt at goal soon after, but the midfielder’s tame effort from outside the penalty area was comfortably gathered by Rocks shot-stopper Dan Lincoln.
Lorent Tolaj then cut inside and went in search of a confidence-boosting goal for his side, but the Swiss winger’s left-footed effort rolled straight into the hands of Lincoln.
Albion continued to grow into the game after Bognor’s goal rush, and Jack Spong went agonisingly close to reducing the deficit when the midfielder’s 30-yard effort dipped inches over the crossbar.
The second half began in similar fashion to the first, which meant Albion’s task of reaching the final increased in difficulty, as the ball dropped over the goal line after Collings was unable to cling on to a set-piece delivery.
But Albion reacted well to going another goal behind, and it was Roberts who surged forward just three minutes later to sweep home Danny Cashman’s low cross that Bognor’s defence failed to clear.
Collings was then forced into a smart save from Theo Widdrington’s ferocious drive, before Roberts lifted a shot just over the crossbar as he went in search of a second goal.
But with 15 minutes remaining on the clock, any slim chance of an Albion comeback was put to bed when substitute Jimmy Wild drilled home at the near post to put the Rocks 5-1 ahead.
Stefan Vukoje almost struck with a late consolation in stoppage time, but Lincoln produced a fine save and the referee blew the final whistle to confirm Bognor’s place in the final against Burgess Hill Town.
ALBION: Collings; Moore, Clark-Eden, Roberts, Tomlinson; Spong, Everitt, Jenks (Packham 46); Tolaj, Cashman, Longman (Vukoje 69).
Subs not used: Rushworth (GK), Tanimowo, Lopata.