Eastbourne Borough focus on FA Trophy after Sussex Cup exit

Borough go out, Town go through. An eventful Sussex Senior Cup week – on and off the field – did not turn out as many observers expected.

Eastbourne Borough in action at Saltdean / Picture: Lydia Redman
Eastbourne Borough in action at Saltdean / Picture: Lydia Redman

Eastbourne Town saw their plum home tie with Crawley Town scuppered when the League Two club pulled out of the competition.

Manager John Yems cited long-term injuries to several of his playing squad – and since the full-timers run only a first team, Yems has prioritised a busy league programme over the Senior Cup. Town said it was ‘a shame’ and John Lambert’s men will have mixed feelings, for a Tuesday night at The Saffrons against the Reds would have been a real occasion.

But Town now go into the last eight where potential opponents include Brighton U23s, Bognor, Horsham and Horsham YMCA.

Danny Bloor fielded a mix of first-teamers and fringe players for Borough’s trip to Saltdean on Tuesday – and the Sports drew blanks in a 0-0 draw which, after extra time, was decided by the lottery of penalties.

The Tigers scored four successive kicks, while two of Borough’s were saved. Sports manager Bloor was philosophical rather than distraught.

He said: “We chose to give game-time to several players, and that is usually our approach to the Senior Cup. Our side did their best – as did Saltdean – to cope with some pretty dreadful conditions.

“We really found ourselves playing very little football. The rain didn’t stop throughout the match, and the pitch turned into a mud-bath. Credit to Saltdean United, and we wish them well.”

The Sports now turn their focus on their one remaining knockout competition – which has a very good prize fund and the small matter of a Wembley final.

They travel tomorrow to face Slough Town in the Buildbase FA Trophy, and Bloor will revert to fielding his strongest side – or at least, the strongest available.

“Our longer-term absentees, Mitch Dickenson and Chris Whelpdale, are unlikely to figure, and Leone Gravata and Jaden Perez are cup-tied. But we still have options throughout the team and we’ll travel in a positive frame of mind,” he said.

The two clubs met at Priory Lane three weeks ago, when Borough won 3-1. “We know each other very well, and respect each other. There is not much to choose between us and we will need to be at our best,” Bloor said.