Rocks don’t want more cup-final heartache

Ollie Pearce in action in the play-off semi-final against Lowestoft  Picture by Chris Hatton
Ollie Pearce in action in the play-off semi-final against Lowestoft Picture by Chris Hatton

THE ROCKS head for the Sussex Senior Cup at the Amex Stadium for the second year running on Sunday insisting they’re ready to make amends for last year’s heavy defeat.

They believe they are well-prepared to take on and beat Ryman one south champions Peacehaven and put behind them the disappointment of losing 4-0 to Brighton’s development side in the showpiece game a year ago.

It’s 27 years since the Rocks last won the prestigious trophy and they are determined to land it this season and give their fans a day to remember that also would help make up for the blow of losing in the Ryman premier play-offs.

Manager Jamie Howell said the squad had trained on Tuesday night and would do so again tonight, and were in good shape for Sunday.

“We’ll be able to put out a strong team and if we play to our potential, we have a good chance to win the cup,” he said.

“We didn’t do ourselves justice last year although we didn’t have as strong a line-up that day as we could have done. It ended up as a bit of a mis-match.

“This year we’re up against different opponents but last year’s final will be in our minds when we go out for the game.”

Howell praised the season Peacehaven had enjoyed and said the winning mentality that had seen them to the Ryman south title would make them dangerous opponents.

Rocks striker Terry Dodd - top scorer with 35 goals this season - is one of the surviving Rocks players from the 2013 and spoke of the squad’s keenness not be losing finalists again.

“Reaching the final again is a fantastic achievement, and it gives us a chance to put things right and get the victory. Last year Brighton had a little bit more quality than us and it wasn’t to be our day, but any other day it could have been and hopefully this time, it will be,” he said.

“We are all looking forward to playing at the Amex again. The experience from last year should help us.

“After the disappointment of the play-offs, the fans deserve something to cheer about. I think as players we had just burnt out after a long season, but we will be fit and raring to go on Sunday and hoping to give them plenty to shout about.

“Jamie and Dabba have us well prepared - they are both fantastic coaches, the best I have worked with. They take all the pressure off us so we can just go out and play the Bognor way – hopefully this time we will get the result we are after and get Bognor Regis Town’s name engraved on that prestigious trophy again!”

Striker Dan Thompson and winger Ben Johnson are both suspended while wideman Arron Hopkinson remains a doubt with an ankle injury. But Sammy Igoe is fit after a hamstring tear and Dan Sackman and Ollie Pearce look fine after minor niggles.

n Rocks fans yet to get their tickets can buy them from the Nyewood Lane office between 10am and midday today or tomorrow, or from the club shop from 8pm to 9pm tonight and tomorrow.

STEVE BONE

Get live updates from the final by following @stevebone1 on Twitter and see a full report here on Sunday night and video highlights on Monday