John Rattle was disappointed that Burgess Hill Town could not overcome Bognor Regis Town in Tuesday night’s Sussex Senior Cup final, but felt Hill’s performance in the 2-1 defeat showed that ‘they’ve come a long way’.
Jimmy Wild gave Bognor the lead on five minutes and the Rocks should have been at least 4-0 up. A mixture of wayward shooting and top goalkeeping from the Hillians Josh James kept the score at 1-0.
Ross Murdoch levelled proceedings two minutes before half-time and Hill began to control the second-half.
Neither side could find a winner in 90 minutes, but Doug Tuck struck in the first-half of extra-time to secure Bognor’s first Senior Cup win in 32 years.
The Hillians were thumped 8-0 by Bognor at Nyewood Lane in the league back in October and many were worried about a repeat of the result, especially after the opening quarter of the first-half.
But Hill produced a sterling performance and were unlucky to fall to defeat.
Rattle said: “It was relief after the first 20 minutes then disappointment after we got back into it.
“We didn’t look very good to begin with but we worked it out.
“We had to rejig things around as Cheick (Toure) got here late.
“Second-half they had chances but I think we had the better chances to finish it off.
“The guys have worked hard. Maybe we just lacked, like we had done all season, a little bit of quality in both boxes.”
“I just think we need to be a little bit more clinical. We had it when we had Tommy (Wood) and it wins games.”
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“But I think we’ve come a long way. We’ve come out of this game a lot better than our game back in October.”
Hill’s four-year stint in the Bostik Premier came to an end this season after they suffered relegation.
With the Hillians set to begin life in Bostik South East, Rattle believes that performances similar to Tuesday’s will put them in good stead for the upcoming campaign.
Rattle also revealed that head coach Simon Wormull and chairman Kevin Newell have begun discussing plans regarding players coming in and out of the club for next season.
He added: “We’re going down a league but if we put that kind of performance in I think we’ll do OK.
“I think we’ll be all right as long as we’ve learnt from the four years we’ve had in the Premier.
“I am going to miss it. There was some great football and there is some great teams you go to.
“But, if we get a chance to go back into it, we’ll be better prepared.
“We’ve had some positive conversations already about players that we want to keep.
“We’ve also had positive conversations about people that we want to bring in.
“It’s now down to Simon and Kevin to come up with a solution to make us a force in the league below.”