Sussex Senior Cup: Pearce and Rutherford put Rocks though against lively Langney

Alfie Rutherford and Ollie Pearce were the scorers against Langney
Alfie Rutherford and Ollie Pearce were the scorers against Langney
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Goals at the end of each half by Ollie Pearce and Alfie Rutherford put Bognor into the next round of the Sussex Senior Cup - but Southern Combination side Langney made them work hard for the 2-0 win.

It was a first meeting with Langney - formed only five years ago - for the Rocks and at stake was a place in the third round of the county cup, a competition in which the hosts have reached the final three times in the past six seasons.

The Rocks welcomed back Stuart Green and Daryl Wollers and also fielded Jamie Horncastle - who is now on dual registration with Chichester City - in defence. A number of senior players, including Jason Prior and Dan Beck, were given a night on the bench.

Langney, who play in division one of the Southern Combination, had the first couple of attacks and were not too far from taking a shock early lead a couple of times.

Bognor’s best early effort saw youngster Lloyd Rowlatt play in Pearce for a cross that nearly found the feet of Alex Parsons. Then it was Parsons’ turn to burst into the box and cross but a desperate bit of defending cleared the danger.

The first corner arrived on 11 minutes and went to the Rocks after a twisting run down the right by Parsons, but it came to nothing.

Rutherford was denied by the crossbar after shooting early when played in on keeper Joe McLaughlin and surprising him with a shot from outside the box.

A flowing move on 19 minutes ended with Parsons putting a cross on Rutherford’s head but his effort was straight at the keeper.

Paul Rogers was close to putting Wanderers ahead with a curling, dipping free-kick midway through the half but Grant Smith got his fingertips to it to concede a corner.

Langney left-back Gianluca Del-Gaudio was booked for a late challenge on Parsons as the winger charged down the right.

Rowlatt was only just off-target with a long-range drive on 33 minutes.

Bognor wasted their best chance of the first half to date on 38 minutes, Pearce seeing his low penalty saved by McLaughlin after a handball. Ironically Rutherford had netted at the end of the move in which the penalty was given, but the whistle had already gone.

Green was struggling and was replaced by James Crane on 40 minutes.

The pressure was building on the visitors’ goal and Rowlatt brought a save out of McLaughlin with a low 15-yard shot.

Rogers did test Smith but his shot towards the bottom corner lacked power.

Rutherford’s mazy run into the area ended with a cross which was just right for Rowlatt but he put his header too close to the keeper.

Just as it looked like the sides would go in for the break goalless, Pearce atoned for his 12-yard miss by glancing in the opener from a Parsons cross.

Langney might have levelled right on half-time from a close-range header but it was wide.

HT 1-0

Rutherford was on the attack in the opening stages of the second half, first down the left, from where his cross into the six-yard box was cleared, then down the right, when he picked out Rowlatt for an effort that McLaughlin saved on his line.

Langney were not lying down and surrendering, as some teams have at Nyewood Lane, but it was the Rocks doing most of the attacking, with Rutherford the visitors’ main tormentor.

Bognor’s second change, on 57 minutes, saw Craig Robson replace Parsons.

Rowlatt got away down the right on the hour and teed up Parsons for a cross that Rutherford met, but his diving header was well off-target.

Pearce pounced on a loose ball to run at McLaughlin but shot just wide as he tried to take it past him.

The Rocks were playing some lovely football in their advances on goal but were sometimes guilty of too much fancy footwork when a straightforward pass or shot would have done.

Wanderers brought on Mark Coleman and Mark Warren for Wayne Wilkinson and Sam Berry.

Their first involvement was to watch Pearce cut in from the left and test McLaughlin with a fierce shot from 20 yards. Then Nilsen played in Rutherford but he drove his shot into the clubhouse window frame.

The next chance fell to Pearce but he almost hit the same bit of the clubhouse after volleying goalwards following a Crane pass.

Langney’s final change saw Kyle Feneron replace Jordan Wheatland.

Rutherford lost his footing after a through-ball was missed by the keeper, denying him an easy chance for the second.

Nilsen went one better than a couple of his team-mates by clearing the clubhouse roof with a rising shot from an angle as the game entered its final ten minutes.

Langney pumped a few balls into the box but the Rocks defence dealt with them.

Field was named man of the match by the supporters’ club, who sponsored the game.

It was all over in stoppage time as Pearce sped away down the inside left channel, drew the keeper and squared for Rutherford to sidefoot in the second.

Rocks: Smith, Nilsen, Wollers, Tuck, Horncastle, Field, Parsons, Rowlatt, Rutherford, Pearce, Green. Subs: Prior, Crane, Beck, Robson, Boughton.

Langney: McLoughlin, Marcus, Del-Gaudio, Hickman, Weston, Weatherby, Wilkinson, Wheatland, Saunders, Rogers, Berry. Subs: Coleman, Feneron, Turner, Warren.

Ref: Michael Ryan (Rustington)

STEVE BONE

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