Hastings United were edged out 2-1 by Bognor Regis Town in the semi-finals of the Sussex Senior Cup at Lancing tonight (Wednesday).
A brace of goals from Dan Thompson, who recently attended a trial at Stoke City, meant that United missed out on a place in the final, which could be held at Brighton & Hove Albion’s American Express Community Stadium.
With snow falling at kick-off, United fell behind in the seventh minute when Ollie Perce took advantage of the space afforded to him on the Bognor left by playing an inviting low ball across goal for Thompson to turn home from close range.
But United responded well and got themselves back on level terms 15 minutes later. Alassane N’Diaye found Elliott Cox on the right and the full-back beat his man before delivering an inch-perfect cross for Zac Attwood to head into the far corner.
United were much the better side for the remainder of the first half in this all-Ryman Football League Premier Division contest. Jack Dixon saw an effort beaten away for a corner, Jamie Crellin flashed a shot narrowly wide and Bognor defender Joshua Warren headed just over his own crossbar.
There seemed plenty for United to be encouraged about at the break, but they were unable to reproduce the same form after the restart. Pearce fired narrowly wide of the near post and Daniel East used his feet to repel a cross-shot from Terry Dodd as Bognor started the second half the brighter.
The game then turned into something of a stalemate with neither side able to gain the upper hand until Bognor grabbed a winner out of nothing in the 77th minute. The ball made its way through the United defence and Thompson rounded East before slotting home.
United pumped a few balls into the Bognor box thereafter and East even came up for a corner during five minutes of added time, but they never really came to an equaliser and Bognor went through to a showdown against Brighton & Hove Albion reserves or East Preston, who meet in the other last four tie tomorrow.
United: East, Cox (Williams 87), Richardson, Warren, Ray, Judge, Ellis (Camara 73), Crellin, Dixon, Attwood, N’Diaye. Subs not used: Carey, Murphy.