Holders Bognor are through to the third round of the Sussex Senior Cup after a 4-1 win at Storrington that only became comfortable in the final 15 minutes.
It was a very one-sided game but the SCFL hosts defended doggedly and cancelled out Tommy Scutt’s strike with a wonder goal by Josh Clarke before Bognor progressed with three goals in the final stages, including two from Dan Smith.
The Rocks had winger Arron Hopkinson on the bench after signing him following his departure from Eastbourne United, where he was player-manager.
Bognor began on the front foot and it was one-way traffic almost from the start although Jack Pearce’s side struggled to break through the massed defence.
James Crane had a goalbound shot headed off the line and Storrington keeper Gary Elliott, who was most people’s man of the match, made some excellent saves to keep it goalless.
Bognor did get the breakthrough in the 32nd minute when Smith nodded the ball down to Scutt, who finished well from 18 yards.
Ashton Leigh thought he’d made it 2-0 a few minutes later but it was ruled out for a marginal offside, and Clarke levelled the scores with an amazing shot from at least 30 yards that flew into the top corner and gave the otherwise under-employed Amadou Tangara no chance.
The Rocks brought on Brad Lethbridge and Hopkinson for Scutt and defender Eddie Wakley after the break and they continued to dominate but for a time were able to turn their possession into goals.
Smith should have scored with a 55th-minute header that was saved then Crane had a succession of efforts cleared off the line and couldn’t believe he had not scored.
Josh Flint came on for Doug Tuck and finally the Rocks’ lead was restored in the 75th minute when Lethbridge’s cross was too good for Jacob Pazaro, who turned it into his own net.
There was little hint that Storrington would find another equaliser and after Elliott made saves from Smith and Hopkinson, Smith made sure of the Rocks’ progress with two late strikes. First he thumped home after Hopkinson’s mazy dribble and pass, then he sidefooted in following an excellent pass by Bognor’s star man on the night, Tommy Leigh.
It was a job well done for the Rocks, who picked up no injuries nor any bookings. Bognor host East Thurrock in the FA Trophy second qualifying round on Saturday.
Bognor: Tangara, Wakley (Hopkinson), Crane, Tuck (Flint), Cook, Dandy, Whyte, T Leigh, Smith, Scutt (Lethbridge), A Leigh. Subs not used: Wood, Blake.