THERE’LL be no third successive Sussex Senior Cup final for Bognor after they were beaten by old foes Whitehawk in the third round.
The Hawks deserved their 2-0 win and it would have been more but for a splendid display by Rocks keeper Chris Winterton.
Whitehawk had the best of the game and when the Rocks did get possession, they struggled to make an impact in the final third.
An early scare for Bognor came when Sam Deering shot from long range and it only just went the wrong side of the post.
Craig Robson and Ashley-Paul Robinson combined to set up Jake Thomson but he hit it wide. Soon, Harvey Whyte put Ollie Pearce through but Hawks keeper Craig Ross smothered the ball.
Robson and Dan Sackman were standing firm against Whitehawk’s attacks, many of which were engineered by impressive duo David Ijaha and Ahmed Abdulla. John Kissock went close, forcing a fine save from Winterton.
Winterton saved when Deering was put through, then he thwarted ex-Rocks striker Sam Gargan, who should have buried the rebound but saw Sackman pop up to clear off the line.
The second half almost started with controversy. Gargan was allowed to run on to a through-ball when he was clearly offside but Winterton saved at his feet. Then Winteron kept out another Gargan chance.
But Gargan was not to be denied and just before the hour mark he was in the six-yard box to poke the ball home from a Sergio Makofo cross.
Bognor responded well and Doug Tuck teed up Alex Parsons, but his shot was parried and the clearance was completed by Nick Arnold as Pearce raced in to try to put away the loose ball.
Whitehawk enjoyed more pressure and Danny Mills went close. Then the Rocks thought they’d equalised as Pearce swept in a Whyte pass from close in, only for a flag to indicate that Whyte had strayed offside – a decision that appeared correct.
Arnold brought another supreme save out of Winterton but in the 88th minute Bognor lost possession to Mills, who ran past a couple of challenges and slotted in the second.
Bognor made a real fight of it after that and Tuck struck a post but it was too late and Bognor were out, with only their Ryman premier campaign to concentrate on from now on. That continues with a home game against Hendon, who are third, on Saturday.
ROCKS: Winterton, Whyte, Oatway, Tuck, Sackman, Robson, Lawson (Branford 60), Thomson (Green 60), Pearce, Robinson (Morey 65), Parsons. Sub not used: Crane.