Eastbourne Borough ease to Sussex Senior Cup win at Roffey
Eastbourne Borough eased into the last 16 of this season’s Sussex Senior Cup on Tuesday, with a 5-0 victory under the floodlights of Roffey.
The final scoreline does not quite do justice to a competitive performance by the Southern Combination Football League club, who emerged with credit both on and off the field.
Two early goals for the Sports meant that Roffey were always scrambling to catch up – but this was no stroll, as Danny Bloor was quick recognise.
“Roffey were unbelievable hosts, and their team was a credit to them. I’ll certainly be cheering them on and hoping they win their division this season!”
The manager was equally pleased with his own squad – especially with those returning from injury and those younger players pitched in to gain experience.
"Lots of positives for us – fantastic to see Steven James back. He played 90 minutes on Saturday for the Development Squad and another 90 minutes here at Roffey.
"And in our last two or three games we’ve given four debuts to promising young players. Ben Bennett played at St Albans and again at Roffey. Jaden Perez had a further appearance after his excellent debut against Chelmsford City.
"And now at Roffey two more youngsters, Isaiah Corrie and Marcel Powell have had their first experience of first team football.
"It’s all very positive and means that we go into Saturday’s National South game with Slough Town in fine fettle."
One of the joys of non-league, perhaps, is that no two venues are quite the same – and Roffey Football Club must surely up there with the loveliest settings in the land.
Local supporters refer to their ground as the Theatre of Trees, and on a mild, dry and windless November night the floodlights poured a cascade of light across the immaculate green turf and its stunning backdrop of foliage in every shade of autumn gold.
Passionate home supporters, in almost touching distance of the action, roared on the players and offered constant advice as if they were their own sons – which they probably were.
Freshly cooked food wafted on the evening air and the beer tent was well stocked and well patronised. Roffey is a football club on the up, and even in defeat, this was their night.
If we ever doubt the validity of the Senior Cup, we simply need to recall nights like these: the Sussex football family at its very best.
Josh Oyinsan had given Borough a 12th minute lead from the penalty spot after a trip in the area, and Charlie Lambert doubled it with a spectacular left-foot strike on 18 minutes.
Roffey responded with some excellent speedy front running, but they rarely troubled Eastbourne keeper Gregor Shaw.
At 0-2, Roffey still had hope, but into first-half stoppage time Lambert struck a third for the Sports which home keeper Alfie Hadfield could only help into the net.
The second half saw a dynamic Charley Kendall claim two more goals for Borough, and some very useful minutes on the pitch for the returning players.
It was the sort of game when nobody would have begrudged the hosts a consolation goal, but Roffey could make no impact on a strong Eastbourne defence.
The Sport were 5-0 winners – but there were no losers on the night at the magical Theatre of Trees.