Sussex Senior Cup: Rocks too strong for Horsham

Ed Sanders (No6) glances in the Rocks' first-half goal / Picture by Tim Hale
Ed Sanders (No6) glances in the Rocks' first-half goal / Picture by Tim Hale

A hat-trick of assists by Ollie Pearce sent Bognor into the quarter-finals of the Sussex Senior Cup at the expense of Horsham.

Pearce set up goals for Ed Sanders and James Crane and forced an own goal from Hornets defender Ashley Jones as the Rocks set themselves up for a visit to SCFL premier leaders Shoreham in the next round.
The Rocks, who had Gary Charman back in defence after nine weeks out with a broken bone in his foot, were into the attack early in the form of Jimmy Muitt, who ran half the length of the field before having a shot blocked in the area.
In a lively start, Bognor took the lead eight minutes in. Jimmy Wild was fouled just outside the box as the Rocks attacked down the left and when Pearce swung a free-kick into the six-yard area, Ed Sanders rose well in a mass of bodies to glance it in.
Horsham also drew level three minutes later when Bognor gifted possession to Tony Nwachukwu and he streaked away down the right but shot into the side netting when confronted by Dan Lincoln.
Muitt was causing the Hornets all sorts of problems and forced Joshua Pelling into a good diving save after beating his man and shooting from an acute angle.
Pearce sent a teasing cross in for Wild that he couldn't connect with and as Bognor threatened to overwhelm their Ryman one south visitors, Wild's low square ball across the box was met by a Muitt shot that was deflected for a corner - all this within the first 18 minutes.
The game hit a lull with neither side able to keep the ball, and play was interrupted on the half-hour when Wild suffered a facial injury when he went up for the ball with one of his team-mates. He was okay to continue after treatment.
Horsham were starting to enjoy a bit more of the possession as the half reached its final ten minutes.
Pearce worked himself into the Hornets box and played a teasing low pass across the area but a defender got a boot to it before Wild could poke it in.
HT 1-0
James Fraser replaced Charman for the start of the second half, the defender having come nicely through his first 45 minutes in more than two months.
A driven Pearce cross was almost turned in by a Hornets defender as Bognor looked for the security of a second goal.
Horsham made the night's first substitution, bringing on Reece Batchelor for ex-Midhurst man Lewis Hyde.
Horsham were threatening an equaliser and were close to it on 61 minutes when Steven Metcalf hammered a shot goalwards from a corner and it hit a leg and flew away for another corner.
Fraser struck the bar with a close-range header three minutes later before Darren Budd had a volley blocked. Then Muitt went through but his shot on the run cleared the clubhouse.
Davies picked up a booking for a foul on the halfway line. Then Muitt was in the action, robbing ex-Rocks player of the year Dan Sackman before firing in a right-footed shot that Pelling pushed away.
The second goal felt like it was coming and so it did on 70 minutes as Crane slid in to convert a driven low cross from the right by Pearce - the striker's second assist of the night.
Horsham had begun to look tired and paid for it by conceding a third on 74 minutes when Ashley Jones turned a Pearce cross into his own net with Muitt lurking. It was Fraser's surging run into the Hornets' half that set Pearce up for his 'assist hat-trick'.
Will Robinson replaced Chad Field before the restart and soon Muitt was brought off for Alex Parsons.
The rash of changes continued when Scott Kirkwood was replaced by Joe Smith.
The game rather fizzled out with the Rocks' place in the quarter-finals secure.
Rocks: Lincoln, Davies, Crane, Field, Charman, Sanders, Muitt, Budd, Wild, Pearce, Whyte. Subs: Parsons, Tuck, Robinson, Fraser.
Horsham: Pelling, Duncan, Metcalf, Branford, Jones, Sackman, Hyde, Kirkwood, Farmer, Nwachukwu, Lawley. Subs: Harris, Batchelor, Smith, Knee.
Ref: Jacob Miles (Peacehaven)

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