Three goals in ten first-half minutes eased Eastbourne Borough into the last 16 of the Parafix Sussex Senior Cup against Worthing United on Tuesday.
It was never a rout against the Southern Counties Combination club – three levels below Borough – but the result was seldom in doubt as the home side did just what they needed.
As well as progressing towards a trophy which should always be in Borough’s sights – with the grand day out at an Amex final in May – the Sports ticked a couple of other boxes.
After recent lean spells, front men Elliott Romain and Darren Lok were both on target with excellent strikes. A sublime 45 minutes from Miguel Baptista gave supporters an exciting reminder of what the Portuguese playmaker has to offer. And centre-back Adam Watts, plagued by injuries over the past year, came successfully through a full game.
Liam Wilson, son of Garry and just turned 18, was handed his full competitive debut and played with assurance at the back alongside Kiran Khinda-John, a veteran at 19 and an admirable captain for the night. The future is promising, gifted and six-foot-something…
Worthing United, ever so slightly awed by the occasion and surroundings, contained Borough in the early stages, keeping their shape sensibly. Striker Pat Rose even had the opening shot, a rising 20-yarder that did not trouble Lewis Carey. But at the other end Romain set himself with smart movement for a scorching low drive, just past the left post, and Nat Pinney burst through but was closed down by desperate defending.
The breakthrough came on 25 minutes, Romain emphatically heading in a Sam Beale corner, and then this contest of unequals followed the script. Six minutes later Romain notched his second from a right-wing cross, just beating James Shaw’s brave flailing effort to save it.
Baptista, meanwhile, had been parading his range of fine passing, and he combined well with Pinney to strike a low shot past Shaw into the bottom left corner from outside the area. Briefly, an avalanche looked possible and Romain, desperate for the hat-trick, blasted one great chance too high, before the half-time whistle brought United a breather and a cup of tea.
Or perhaps it was a double-shot espresso, for a few minutes into the second half Worthing had their moment of glory. Sam Blundell forced his way to the by-line – actually with the aid of a foul to which indulgent referee John Pike turned a blind eye – and shot from a narrow angle. Carey’s save deflected into the path of a jubilant Rose, who scored from ten yards.
But Worthing’s hopes of a cup shock vanished in the November mist. Darren Lok, on as a half-time substitute and full of fire, raced at the heart of the visitors’ defence and fired a torpedo of a shot low across the keeper for 4-1: a classic Lok goal.
Then, with perhaps half an eye on Saturday’s visit of leaders Ebbsfleet, Borough sensibly saw the game out. There was a brief debut – including the pass of the match – from Academy midfielder Ryley Tate, and a couple of spectacular luck-plus-judgement saves by Shaw, but no further goals, and everyone went home happy.
Borough: Carey; Watts, Khinda-John, Wilson; Stone, Bosma, Baptista (McCallum 45), Haysman, Beale; Pinney (Tate 65), Romain (Lok 45).
MoM: Kiran Khinda-John – wise head on young shoulders
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