Rocks 3 Eastbourne Borough 1
Sussex Senior Cup QF
The Rocks are in the semi-finals of the county cup after an impressive display against Conference South side Eastbourne Borough.
But the result was overshadowed by Stuart Axten’s suspected broken ankle, which seems certain to rule him out for the rest of the season.
The Rocks welcomed back Terry Dodd after his loan at East Preston. Ollie Pearce and Lewis Stockford were moved to the bench and Ben Andrews was again a substitute after recovering from a lengthy injury.
Goalkeepers Nick Jordan and Craig Stoner were missing through injury, meaning Tom Boyle took his place between the posts.
Early on, Kane Wills’ cross from the right found Axten but his glanced header was easily dealt with.
Harvey Whyte sped forward to set up Dan Thompson but the forward’s low shot brushed the side netting.
Wills’ right-sided corner found Thompson for a header but it was weak and flew directly at Danny Potter in Borough’s goal.
But the Rocks took the lead on seven minutes when another corner from Wills found Thompson and he made no mistake with his header.
Jamie Smith’s corner was headed narrowly wide by Anwar Uddin for Borough and then Thompson forced a parried save from Potter after Daryl Wollers’ through-ball.
The home fans got the goal they wanted from the returning Dodd on 21 minutes. Dan Beck won a corner, Axten headed the ball across the box and it hung nicely for Dodd, who headed in from close range. His celebration showed how much it meant to him and the supporters.
Wills tried his luck with a half volley but was straight at Potter.
Bognor were well on top and went 3-0 up on 31 minutes. James Crane ran down the right to pass to Whyte, who just managed to poke it beyond the goalkeeper and into the net.
Eastbourne tried to test Boyle but their efforts came to nothing - before Crane flashed one just wide from 25 yards. Dodd scooped wide after good work from Whyte.
As Borough tried to find a way back into the tie, Smith chipped a cross to Simon Johnson, who headed over the bar.
Boyle received a backpass but got into trouble with his clearance and ended up tripping a Borough forward in the process of pushing the ball away. Boyle was lucky to only receive a yellow card and Ben Adelsbury drove in the penalty on 55 minutes.
Dan Kempson came on for Doug Tuck on 60 minutes as Rocks chose to bring in flesh blood into midfield.
Axten went to ground after clashing with an opposing striker - Boyle was involved in the collision as well. A stretcher was called for and Axten was carried off – head in hands. Ben Andrews replaced him.
It was later revealed Axten would be out for the rest of the season with a suspected broken bone.
Smith attempted a cross but his left-footed strike went sailing above the bar. Whyte bobbled a shot from just inside the box right at the goalkeeper.
On 85 minutes Dodd chased down a pass back by Uddin but Potter got there first.
Dodd was replaced by Pearce to a warm round of applause.
After a rather uneventful final ten minutes, the Rocks were through to the last four.
ROCKS: Boyle, Marzetti, Beck, Crane, Axten, Wollers, Tuck, Wills, Thompson, Dodd, Whyte. Subs: Pearce, Kempson, Stockford, Andrews, McFarlane.
Get all the latest from Nyewood Lane in the Observer - out on Thursday morning