Matt Smart, Eastbourne Borough’s match winning hero from Fleetwood, was on the bench for the visit of County League Two outfit Rustington for Tuesday night’s Sussex Senior Cup tie at Priory Lane.
The management assured us he was not injured from the mass bundle of celebration following his unbelievable 60 yard free-kick on Saturday.
It was more to do with tomorrow’s visit of Blue Square Bet Premier relegation rivals Southport.
Smart, along with Matt Crabb, Jamie Taylor, Neil Jenkins, Eddie Hutchinson, were all given a well-earned break for a competition that Boss Garry Wilson admits is not top priority, despite the fact the final will be the first game played at the AMEX Community Stadium in July.
But the result was never in doubt thanks to a lively performance from Aldershot loanee George Purcell and two goals from striker Richard Pacquette.
An upset never looked on the cards especially after striker Pacquette slid in to steer home an excellent cross from Purcell after three minutes. It was a body blow for the visiting side who are floating around mid-table of the County League division two and it was a blow they never really recovered from.
Boro’ took the game seriously, they maintained possession well and worked hard to close down their opponents when they didn’t have the ball.
Moments after his goal, Pacquette slammed a first-time effort from 20 yards over the bar and Steve Brinkhurst should have scored when he rounded the keeper but missed the open goal albeit from a narrow angle.
Rikki Banks, back in the side after Tommy Forecast’s return to Southampton, was frantically doing his best to keep warm on a bitterly cold evening.
With the action almost fully in the visitors’ half, Banks was busy doing shuttle runs along his 18-yard box when Micky Demetriou, filling in a left back, crossed and Pacquette’s deft header into the top corner made it 2-0.
It was all Boro’ after the break , in fact the visitors, who acquitted themselves well and maintained their discipline throughout, could not muster a single shot on goal.
Nathan Crabb was a handed a rare start he proved a constant menace to the visiting defence.
His run and cross teed up young Ethan Strevett but his near post effort was beaten away by the impressive Rustington keeper Jack Bonetti, great nephew of former Chelsea and England keeper Peter.
Bonetti then was down low to deny Nathan Crabb following a Darren Baker throughball and skipper Ben Austin fired a shot over from the resultant corner.
Bonetti then pulled of a string of fine saves to thwart Purcell, Crabb once again and the pick of the bunch moments later to prevent Purcell adding a third.
However, with time running out Purcell got the goal his performance deserved and Boro eased through to set up a next round tie with FA Vase quarter-finalists Rye United.
BOROUGH: Banks 6, Baker 6, Austin 6, Elphick 6 (M Crabb), Demetriou 6, Purcell 8, Strevett 6 (Taylor), Weatherstone 6, Brinkhurst 6, Pacquette 7 (Johnson 45), N Crabb 7
Subs not used: Jenkins, Smart. MOM: George Purcell - livewire
Rustington: Bonetti, Bennett, Green, Neal, Sayers, Clayton, Jones, Hudson, Boxall, Huckett, Darwin.
Ref: Mr Ashley Slaughter 7.