Rowland suffers first defeat as they exit John O’Hara Cup

A goalmouth scramble at Eastbourne United
A goalmouth scramble at Eastbourne United

Eastbourne United AFC have been knocked out of the John O’Hara League Cup at the first hurdle after a 3-2 defeat to Storrington.

After their midweek exploits in the FA Cup at Herne Bay, Rowland shuffled his pack with debuts for Joe Rogers in goal and Jack Aston, who only signed for the club on Friday morning, starting in central midfield.

There was also a recall for Jack Franklin and a first start for striker Linton Rogers.

United had much of the early possession, with Jack Divall and Jason Taylor testing Gary Elliott in the visiting goal.

Joe Rogers was called into action to deny Kelvin Hobden before Aston was inches away from a debut goal as his thunderous header was deflected onto the post by Sam Elliott following a Wes Tate corner.

The deadlock was broken on 31 minutes and it went in favour of Storrington.

A through ball found Joe Warner, who appeared to be in an offside position, but the striker showed great composure to slot past Rogers.

The goal was much debated by the United bench, with the referee admitting at half time that the wrong decision may have been made.

United were level when Shaun Loft headed a goal kick straight back from where it came and into the path of Linton Rogers, who proceeded to confidently lift the ball over the advancing Elliott and into the net.

United were nowhere near there fluent best during the first half, but began the second half strongly.

Tate and Taylor combined on the right wing to fashion a chance for Rogers to score his second of the match, to which the striker duly obliged.

Franklin nearly made it 3-1 when a Taylor cross fell to him, but Elliott was out of the Storrington goal quickly to produce a smart save.

With 62 minutes played and against the run of play, Warner split the United defence and much like his first goal, confidently slotted past a helpless Joe Rogers.

Storrington now had the bit between their teeth and looked the more likely to score.

And on 66 minutes they did.

Kelvin Hobden outpaced Scott Dartnall on the right wing and with the ball bouncing, lifted the ball over Rogers from 15 yards.

United found Elliott in the Storrington in inspired form as he denied Taylor and Dartnall from close range, but he saved the best until last as with four minutes remaining, Dartnall unleashed a ferocious drive that Elliott somehow finger-tipped onto the bar.

United must now dust themselves down and focus on Saturday as next up is the small matter of Folkestone Invicta in the FA Cup First Qualifying Round