Tomorrow (Wednesday) at Culver Road, Lancing, Eastbourne Borough face one of the defining games of their season – the semi-final of the Parafix Sussex Senior Cup. Opponents Bognor Regis Town are flying at the moment, and they claimed a place in the FA Trophy semi-finals with an impressive victory over National League side Torquay United on Saturday.
Remarkably, Torquay were the seventh higher-division club this season who have fallen victim to the Rocks in cup competitions, and Borough will hold no fears for Jamie Howell’s side.
Led by talisman and top scorer Jason Prior, who has 31 goals to his name this season, Bognor have an accomplished, experienced team which is also hunting promotion from the Ryman Premier to National South. The Rocks play some excellent pass-and-move football – and significantly, most of their cup victories have been notched at home on their tight, carpet-smooth Nyewood Lane pitch.
On Saturday an ecstatic crowd of over 1800 roared Bognor to a 1-0 win which was actually more convincing than the scoreline suggests. Norwegian midfielder Snorre Nilsen popped in the winning goal just after half-time, with a smart header after Ollie Pearce’s curling shot had come back off the crossbar.
Culver Road boasts a high-quality 3G pitch which will actually suit the passing style of both teams, and an excellent game is prospect. Supporters should note that, with the possibility of extra time, the match kicks off at the earlier time of 7.15pm.
The winners will face Worthing – who dramatically knocked out Whitehawk on penalties in the first semi-final last week. The Senior Cup Final takes place at the Amex Stadium in May, and would prove a fitting climax to Borough’s 50th anniversary season. But first, Bognor await.
Manager Tommy Widdrington added, “It’s a good competition and presents a realistic opportunity for us. But Bognor are an excellent side and have a really good manager. I like the way they play and I believe this could be a really good game of football.
“The vast majority of our current team are youngsters, but I feel they’re getting there. Before Saturday, we had gone five matches unbeaten and there is no reason we can’t put another very similar run together, starting with this semi-final.
“I feel the side has been steadily improving, which had not been totally reflected in our mid-season results. But in the last few games we seem to have got the balance right and the players are getting their just deserts.
“The important thing for us is that we start to find a level of consistency. We’ve done that back in August and now again in January-February, and if we can stretch that to four or five months then who knows, we could still have a chance of the play-offs.
“But the main thing is the team is improving, and as long as we’re moving forward, then I’m happy.”
See Friday’s Herald for full match report and pictures from Lancing.