Borough progress to Sussex Senior Challenge Cup Final
Eastbourne Borough booked their place in the final of this season’s Sussex Senior Challenge Cup with a penalty shoot-out victory over Peacehaven & Telscombe on Wednesday evening.
Substitute Jack Skinner’s winning spot-kick ensured a trip to the American Express Community Stadium for Borough, who arguably should have sealed the result before extra-time having missed a number of key opportunities.
However, Peacehaven can be proud of their performance against a side at the sixth step of English football and would have snatched victory for themselves in the 90th minute had Jake Brocklebank converted a late penalty.
The Sports' superior quality on the ball was clear from the first whistle. Greg Luer almost put his side in front with six minutes played, latching onto a delicious through ball that sliced through the Peacehaven defence, but the striker couldn’t divert his shot on target after rounding goalkeeper Lawrence Sanded.
Michael West was next to go close for Borough in the 25th minute when he was teed up on the edge of the area, but his tame attempt was saved comfortably.
The National League South side were reflecting their higher-level status as half-time approached, dominating possession and largely restricting Peacehaven to hopeful kick-and-rush football.
Stephane Bombelenga produced a miss-of-the-season contender four minutes before the break, blazing over from six yards out after Luer again beat the onrushing Sanded and delivered a cross to set him up in front of an open goal.
Nevertheless, the match remained scoreless at the break, with Peacehaven lucky not to have shipped a goal or two.
Despite this, Mark Shutt’s side could have snatched the lead shortly after the restart through Cameron Wiltshire who found himself in on goal, but his shot was parried well by Franco Ravizzoli between the sticks.
Matthew Cheeseman forced the goalkeeper into action again just after the hour mark, while Josh Marshall’s shot moments later failed to find the back of the net as the underdogs began to knock on the door.
The Tye received a golden chance to grab the victory when they were awarded a penalty in the dying seconds, but Brocklebank blazed the spot-kick wide, keeping the scores level and forcing the game into extra-time. Luer came closest for Eastbourne during the following half-hour, twisting and turning to beat his marker before blasting the ball narrowly over the crossbar.
With neither side able to find an elusive winning goal in 120 minutes, penalties were required to determine the victors.
Luer saw his effort saved which set up Charlie Lambert to win the game for Peacehaven, but he was also denied by the goalkeeper.
Then, with the shoot-out into sudden death, Skinner stepped up to seal the result for Eastbourne and break Peacehaven hearts.
Borough will now face face either Brighton & Hove Albion or Worthing in the final on a date to be confirmed.
Manager Danny Bloor praised Peacehaven’s efforts following the match, who ultimately missed out on an upset by the finest of margins.
“They’ve got some really good players, and Mark Shutt and his team should be really proud of what they’re doing,” he said.
“We look forward to the final but we’ve got a massive job at Eastbourne Borough to make sure we maintain our status in the National League South.
(A selection of photographs can be found on Facebook - courtesy of Simon Roe Photography)
Stats: (Eastbourne Borough-Peacehaven & Telscombe):
Goals: 0-0; Shots: 14-7; Shots-on-Target: 4-4; Corners: 6-4; Offsides: 5-2; Fouls: 12-13; Yellow cards: 3-0; Red cards: 0-0
Eastbourne Borough: Ravizzoli, Adebayo-Rowling, Wills (C), James, Cox, Luer, West, Ferry, Bombelenga, Gayle, Gharbaoui.
Subs: Skinner, Gbolaman, Hanson, Blackmore, Hadler.
Peacehaven & Telscombe: Sanded, Legrange, Morley, Grant (C), Wiltshire, Capon, Brocklebank, Lambert, Cheeseman, J. Marshall.
Subs: Meyers, Ford, Bant, Lloyd, S. Marshall.
Match report by Archie Griggs