Rocks crash out of FA Cup at Sudbury

The Rocks were in FA Cup replay action / Picture by Tommy McMillan
The Rocks were in FA Cup replay action / Picture by Tommy McMillan

Bognor are out of the FA Cup after conceding a late equaliser at Sudbury and then losing in extra time.

The 3-2 defeat is a big setback for the club and represents a missed opportunity. They should have finished off their Bostik north opponents in the first game at Nyewood Lane on Saturday - and the same can be said of this replay, in which they led 2-1 with only a couple of minutes of nomal time left.

It mirrors what happened in the FA Trophy four seasons ago - when Bognor were also held by Sudbury at home and then lost in a midweek replay in Suffolk.

So it's Sudbury who claim the £9,000 prize money for the second qualifying round win and go on to visit Haringey in the third qualifying round, while the Rocks are left to concentrate on the league and other cup competitions that hold less prestige.

After Saturday's 1-1 draw at Nyewood Lane, when Harvey Whyte's third-minute strike was not enough to see the Rocks through, they almost had another very early advantage when, in the first minute, Mason Walsh beat his full-back and forced a superb diving save from home keeper Paul Walker.

That was a promising start by Jack Pearce and Robbie Blake's team but it was Sudbury who netted first, on ten minutes, when Billy Holland capitalised on indecision in the Bognor box to slot past Dan Lincoln.

The first quarter of the game was fairly even and Jimmy Muitt headed over from a Walsh cross. But in the latter part of the second, Sudbury were the better side, although Brad Lethbridge, back in the Rocks frontline after injury, did have a couple of half chances.

It was a different Bognor side who emerged for the second half. Walsh was causing Sudbury all sorts of problems down the Rocks left and from one chance, Lethbridge should have levelled but blasted over. Joe Tomlinson then crossed for Whyte but his effort brought a super tip-over from Walker.

The goal was coming and it arrived on 54 minutes as Muitt converted a Walsh cross. Five minutes later the Rocks were in front when Calvin Davies' shot was not held by Walker and Whyte swept it in from six yards.

It was almost 3-1 but a spectacular overhead kick by Muitt grazed the outside of the post. It was all Bognor and Sudbury were clinging on, but the third goal would not come.

Walsh was replaced by Tommy Scutt with 11 minutes left and Sudbury upped the tempo, and on 88 minutes a lovely free-kick by Joe Whight was ruled to have crossed the line after hittung the underside of the bar and bouncing down and just in.

Extra-time was needed and only five minutes of the 30 had passed when home sub Mekhi McKenzie restored the home team's lead after running on to a long clearance.

Sudbury almost made it 4-2 but Chad Field saved the Rocks with a last-ditch tackle to deny McKenzie. Bognor tried hard to find a third goal that would take it to penalties but, as on Saturday, could not turn possession into clear-cut chances.

Bognor will be hugely disappointed to bow out of the cup and now must raise themselves for their return to league action on Saturday, when they will visit Potters Bar.

Rocks: Lincoln, Davies, Tomlinson, Tuck, Field, Wood, Whyte, Block, Lethbridge, Muitt, Walsh (Scutt). Subs not used: Heath, Osborne, McCormick.