Eastbourne Borough secured their Quarter-Final spot in this season’s Sussex Transport Senior Cup after overcoming a battling Wick side at Crabtree Park.
Shiloh Remy and Billy Vigar got the goals as the Sports progressed with a 2-1 win on a chilly evening in West Sussex.
With the likes of Brighton & Hove Albion, Crawley Town and Worthing all bowing out of the competition after losing to lower ranked teams, the Sports avoided a potential banana skin to progress to the last eight.
Mark Beard named a strong team – with the likes of Remy, Fletcher Holman and Leone Gravata starting. There was also a return for Jack Paxman, who made his first appearance since injury in October.
Shooting down the slope at Crabtree Park in the first half, the Sports were quick to take control of possession and dominated the early exchanges.
The first opportunity came within seven minutes when Gravata floated in a cross to the far post, but it came at an awkward height for Scott Leslie and his effort was saved at the near post by Keelan Belcher.
And the deadlock was duly broken after ten minutes when Vigar did well to win the ball high up the pitch and he fed it into the feet of Remy, who twisted his way past two defenders before firing past Belcher and into the top corner.
Wick’s deep line was frustrating the Sports in the first half, with space in behind limited. Remy, though, did almost double his and Borough’s tally when Gravata’s cross was headed away as far as the winger, but his rasping volley crashed off the underside of the bar and clear.
All the while the lead was just a solitary goal the hosts felt they were still in the game, and had half a chance to draw level when Jake Hawker met David Crouch’s corner but his glancing header went the wrong side of the far post.
Borough were then dealt a blow when Gravata was forced off after what appeared to be a hamstring issue, with Decarrey Sheriff coming on in his place.
The Sports continued to look dangerous when they moved the ball quickly in the final third, and doubled their lead just before half-time. Holman produced a great cross from the left and Vigar rose above his marker to nod beyond Belcher.
Paxman made way at half-time on his return to action, but shooting down the hill it was the hosts who looked to get on the front foot after the break.
However, Borough continued to threaten going forwards with Holman’s low ball across blocked with a queue of sky blue shirts waiting before the young forward drove an effort straight at the keeper.
Holman then nearly added a third when he lined up a free-kick 25 yards out, but his effort was tipped onto the bar by Belcher.
Wick were then handed a lifeline when Essa Janneh’s challenge on James Thurgar was judged to be enough for a penalty. Josh Irish stepped up, and sent Harrison Foulkes the wrong way to set up a nervy last 20 minutes.
Jack Clarke came on to shore up the midfield, but the Southern Combination League side almost drew level when Irish held off Archie Procter to run onto a long ball, but he couldn’t lift his shot over Foulkes.
With the hosts throwing everything at the Sports, substitute Clarke had the chance to make the game safe in stoppage time but could only drag his shot wide.
In the end, the Sports weren’t made to pay for their missed chances as they held on to win.
Borough now welcome Hastings United to Priory Lane in the next round, with a date to be confirmed at the time to writing.