Bognor beat Burgess Hill in feisty Sussex Senior Cup clash

An own goal seven minutes from time earned a Sussex Senior Cup victory for Bognor - and spelled heartbreak for Burgess Hill.
Bognor and Burgess Hill do battleBognor and Burgess Hill do battle
Bognor and Burgess Hill do battle

Jordy Mongoy gave the Rocks a first half lead before Harry Pollard levelled after the break. After Tommy Leigh missed a Rocks penalty, it looked to be heading for penalties - until Josh Spinks unluckily deflected a Jake Flannigan shot past keeper Alfie Jones to decide a lively encounter at Nyewood Lane.

It was a last chance for both teams to impress before the month-long sporting shutdown begins on Thursday – with no-one knowing for sure when football will resume. It was also a repeat of the 2019 senior cup final, which Bognor also won 2-1, with the help of extra-time to lift the trophy at the Amex – a trophy, of course, that they still hold with last year's competition not finishing.

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Bognor, who play a division above Hill in the Isthmian League, made a lively start and a ball in from the right was only just too far in front of Brad Lethbridge, seeking his fourth goal in three games. Then Leigh curled a nice 25-yard free-kick only just wide of Alfie Jones' post.

It was all Bognor in the early stages and Leigh hit a shot just wide when a corner fell to him, then a scramble in the Hill box ended with Mongoy's shot being cleared off the line by a defender with the keeper beaten.

The Hillians started to come into it and caused a couple of scares in the Bognor back-line. One loose pass from Leigh gave Andy Herring the chance to run at goal and shoot and it was not far wide of Amadou Tangara's goal. Aaron Smith-Joseph was next to threaten, firing just wide from an angle after a jinking run down the Hill right.

Lethbridge almost scored from wide out on the left – his cross, or was it a shot, alarming keeper Jones and only just drifting over the bar. Mongoy looked dangerous whenever he got the ball at his feet, another fizzer of a low shot going across the face of goal and wide. Joe Cook ought to have put away a nice cut-back pass from Mongoy from 10 yards but shot off-target.

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Play switched to the other end and Cooney had to clear from the goal-line when Joseph weaved his way into the goalmouth. Burgess Hill felt they should have had a spot-kick for a challenge by Cook – it wasn't given and when Bognor broke, Lethbridge teed up on Mongoy but his effort was blocked by a defender.

Mongoy opened the scoring six minutes before the break when he took a pass from Cook in his stride, wrong-footed a defender then calmly rolled the ball past the advancing keeper. HT 1-0

Bognor introduced Sam Dowridge and Ethan Robb for Lis and Calvin Davies, who'd suffered a groin strain, after the break. The opening stages of the second half didn't have the pace that much of the first period possessed but most of the attacking was being done by Bognor, and Mongoy wasn't far off target with a curling 25-yarder.

Burgess Hill levelled on the hour when Harry Pollard tapped in from a corner played short and sent across the six-yard box by Tom Chalaye. Immediately it was almost 2-1 to the visitors when Chalaye raced through with only Tangara to beat only for him to shoot over.

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Bognor went back on the attack as Ashton Leigh was introduced for Parish and Smith-Joseph was booked for hauling down Flannigan.

Bognor were panicking again at a free-kick swung into the six-yard box from the right, but survived. But it was a much-improved effort by Jay Lovett's team in the second half.

Pat Harding replaced Herrring for Hillians with 24 minutes to go. Lethbridge was booked for diving after going down easily on a run into the box.

Burgess Hill were having more of the ball in the second half but it was the Rocks who had the next chance – from the spot. Sub Dowridge won it when his solo run ended with him being brought down by the keeper, but Tommy Leigh had his kick saved as the keeper guessed right and dived right – Leigh's second miss in a row at the same end of the ground and on the same side of the goal.

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Then it was Dowridge's turn to miss a sitter, blasting over after Lethbridge's run down the left and ball into the area. And suddenly it was end to end and Smith-Joseph sliced a shot wide when he had only Tangara to beat.

With seven minutes to go Bognor retook the lead when Dowridge fed Flannigan down the inside right channel and his low shot was deflected past Jones and in.

There was a flashpoint when Jordy Ndzoid hauled down Dowridge and was booked – moments after Hill were furious at a handball not given.

Hill kept pressing but there was no way back for them and it was the Rocks who went through – though when the next round will be is anyone's guess.

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Bognor can head into lockdown happy at their winning form - especially at home - while the Hillians can at least be happy with improved displays in the FA Trophy and this game following a couple of poor league defeats.

Rocks: Tangara, Davies, Cooney, Flannigan, Cook, Wood, Lis, Parish, Mongoy, Leigh T, Lethbridge. Subs: Dowridge, Robb, Leigh A.

Burgess Hill: Jones, Downie, Ward, Spinks, Pollard, Doherty, Williams-Bowers, Ndozoid, Chalaye, Herring, Smith-Joseph. Subs: Miller, Cross, Kirkwood, Laing, Harding.

Ref: Alexander Bradley