Eastbourne Borough bowed out of the Sussex Transport Senior Cup after losing on penalties to Hastings United.
The Sports showed attacking intent throughout, but were unable to break down a disciplined Hastings defence in this quarter-final tie.
A goalless 90 minutes took the tie to penalties, where the visitors prevailed after winning 2-1 – Charlie Grainger saving two in the shoot-out.
Adam Murray rotated his side to take a look at members of the squad who didn’t feature in the draw at Torquay. This included starts for Scott Leslie, Dan Quick, Jay Beckford and Yaser Kasim, whilst David Sesay returned from injury.
Possession was the name of the game in the early stages, with both teams looking to get on the front foot.
Ben Dudzinski had to be alert to claw Joe Clifford’s cross/shot away from goal, whilst at the other end Imran Uche won the ball and found Siya Ligendza, but on his first start since joining on loan he couldn’t pick out a red shirt with his ball across goal.
Borough saw more of the ball as the half wore on, but struggled to create any clear cut opportunities as Hastings sat back and limited space between the lines.
Leslie found Callum Kealy in a pocket of space inside the area, but Grainger parried away his effort, before Quick pressed high up the pitch and did well to win the ball, but saw his effort whilst off balance go wide.
The visitors’ only real shot of the opening half came just before half-time, but Davide Rodari pulled his effort wide of the far post after turning on the edge of the area.
Leone Gravata came on at the break, and almost made an instant impact, but after winning the ball high up the pitch didn’t really test Grainger with his low drive.
Borough were camped in the Hastings half for majority of the second period. After working the ball well to Sam Beard on the left, his low ball in couldn’t pick out a team mate before Uche fired in a low shot which was deflected just wide of the bottom corner.
Ligendza joined the Sports on loan from AFC Fylde ahead of the trip to Torquay, and nearly marked his full debut with a spectacular goal with 18 minutes to go. The forward worked room for a shot 25 yards out, and his dipping effort beat Grainger but only to cannon back off the crossbar.
There looked like there was only going to be one winner as Borough stepped up the search for the opening goal as the tie entered the last ten minutes. Uche played the ball over the top to substitute Decarrey Sheriff, but Grainger was off his line quickly to deny him before the forward fired just over the top corner after a sharp turn just inside the area.
But they couldn’t get the breakthrough, and the tie went to penalties.
Both Sam Beard and Rodari had the first effort saved by the respective keepers, before Gravata and John Ufuah converted to leave it 1-1 after two each.
However, it was advantage Hastings after both Kasim and Kealy saw their efforts hit the bar, whilst Jack Bates scored to leave Sam Gale the chance to win it, but he could only hit the post.
But the Isthmian Premier side would wrap up the shoot-out win as Freddie Carter saw his shot saved by Grainger, to seal a 2-1 win for the visitors.