GALLERY: Joyous scenes as Rocks reach Sussex cup final

Jamie Howell praised the fans who have stood by the Rocks team and management through a difficult spell - and said their reward was seeing them reach the Sussex Senior Cup final.

The manager spoke of his delight at the Rocks’ 2-1 victory over Hastings at Lancing which secured a trip to May’s final, in which they’ll face Brighton’s development team at the Amex.

Dan Thompson scored the goals as a large travelling green army had a night to remember - as witnessed in our gallery of Tommy McMillan’s pictures.

Howell said: “I’m delighted for everyone that we got through. It was virtually a youth team we had out there because of all our injuries, but they stepped up to the mark superbly.

“We weren’t at our best in the first half, that’s true, but at half-time it would have been very difficult to have a go at them. We conceded a goal through giving the ball away in their half - that was down to inexperience.

“But we told them to keep it solid and they did everything we asked of them and more in the second half and I thought we fully deserved it in the end.

“The young lads were brilliant and so were the senior players. Dan Beck took a whack in the first half and probably should have come off. He could barely walk at the end of the game yet just before the end he headed away what would have been a very good chance for Hastings to equalise.

“We couldn’t have asked for any more from them and we’re very proud of them. A lot of them are players we’ve had to take a gamble on and throw in maybe a little before we’d have liked, and they’ve not let us down.

“We were delighted for those fans. It was unbelievable there were so many there.

“We have had a terrible couple of months and all I hear about at a lot of other clubs is calls for the manager’s head. But we’re fortunate that’s not happened here. When we’ve most needed the fans’ support as a team and a management team, we’ve been given it.

“The final should be a great day out for everyone and a fantastic way to end the season.”

STEVE BONE