Sussex Cup win should lead to new era of Bognor success

Robbie Blake and the Bognor backroom team / Picture by Tommy McMillan
Robbie Blake and the Bognor backroom team / Picture by Tommy McMillan

The Rocks want their Sussex Senior Cup triumph to signal a new era of success.

Boss Jack Pearce and coach Robbie Blake are challenging the players to savour the club’s first cup for more than 30 years – and let in inspire them to further league and cup glory next season and beyond.

It comes as Pearce says he does not know if he will be manager next season – but he will be guided by the players – and confirms Blake is staying at the club for at least a second season.

The Rocks are savouring a 2-1 Senior Cup final win over Burgess Hill - the first time they’ve won it since 1987, which was the sixth time in eight years they had won it.

Blake, celebrating silverware at the end of his first season at Nyewood Lane, said: “It feels pretty good coming off the back of a frustrating league campaign it’s nice we’ve finished with a trophy.

“We wanted it and it’s 32 years since we last won this cup. It’s an important day for us and hopefully it can give the lads a bit of a kick-start and we can build on it for next season – we know we need to do better next year.

“In the first 20 minutes we were outstanding and could have been three or four up. Normally if you’re three or four up the game’s over but as usual, as in a lot of our games, we had to do it the hard way.

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“We missed a lot of gilt-edged chances. Although we missed those chances, I think you have to understand that the lads gave everything. They were out on their feet. We had injuries and we could have finished with seven players, there were that many players who were struggling.

“So great credit to the players. They dug in and worked so hard for Bognor Regis Town Football Club.

“It’s nice for the fans - they’ve been different class all year through the ups and the downs and it’s nice to finish off with the trophy.

“I thought it was deja vu (when we missed chances then conceded an equaliser). I said to the lads the game should be out of sight.

“We had to dig in because Burgess Hill had a go at us second half. I thought they were the better team in the second half up to about the 80-minute mark. The lads were a bit down we’d come in at 1-1.

“We had to keep plugging away and keep passing the ball and eventually gaps will appear because there’s tired bodies out there. And the lads have gone right to the end.”

Blake was pleased for less-than-fully-fit Doug Tuck to score the extra-time winner after coming on as a sub.

“I’m not being disrespectful to our players but Doug could be the only person to show that composure and finesse to score that goal. It was the right moment for the right lad to tuck it in and it was a great composed finish.”

Blake said he was pleased his weary players could now rest - but he’s like the season to carry on!

“I just love football and I’d love to be in again tomorrow. But the players need to recharge their batteries. They’ve given everything.

“I thought our skipper (Harvey Whyte) was absolutely immense again, the best player on the pitch. Chad has played every game and I was really disappointed for him to get that injury near the end. Let’s hope it’s not too bad.

“We’ve had so many injuries and it’s crippled us because I think you’ve seen in the first half that when we have more of the team out there that we want, we are a threat and we play really good football. On another day we’d be 3-0 or 4-0 up at half-time.

“When you’re not you have to have belief and character. But I thought we finished stronger and were much the better team in extra-time.”

Now Blake is hungry for more trophies next year and beyond.

“I’ve said all along, I’ll try my best and give my last breath to try to be successful. We have what is required but need to bring some more players in. We have the nucleus of a really good side and I’m pretty sure with a good pre-season we’ll be all right.”