Albion cannot be accused of not taking the Sussex Senior Cup seriously.

Nine of the players who lined up against Ryman division one south runners-up Worthing in the final at Eastbourne yesterday have featured in the first team this season.

The muted celebrations at the end did not suggest that the competition is their main priority.

But for 90 minutes the professionals showed the rain-soaked bumper 1,022 crowd how committed they were to winning the end-of-season showpiece.

Manager Dean White would not have it any other way. He knows exactly what the competition means to non-league teams in the county, having won it whilst in charge of Hastings.

White said: "We took it seriously. The players are paid to play and I expect them to be professional when they are out there.

"This club should win the competition every year in my opinion. They are the professional club and they should win it, although it doesn't always work out that way.

"Sometimes I have to put teams out that are basically the youth team with two pros and at times they are not going to be strong enough.

"This year I've been able to put out some half-decent teams on paper. But they've still got to go out and produce it."

Albion have now won the 121-year-old competition six times.

They last appeared in the final in 2000 when they needed penalties to see off White's Hastings side after an unconvincing 1-1 draw.

The then manager Micky Adams was furious and told some of the players that they would never play for the club again.

There was no chance of a repeat in front of a watching Mark McGhee.

Midfielder John Piercy opened the scoring from the penalty spot on 13 minutes after Chris McPhee had gone down under a challenge from Chris Dicker.

Piercy said: "When there's a big crowd it doesn't matter what game you are playing in, you want to win it.

"It might be a little difficult in normal reserve games when there's one man and his dog watching because having people there spurs the lads on."

Albion should have put the game beyond doubt before captain Dean Hammond finally did so 17 minutes from time.

Hammond saw a header spectacularly pushed round the post by Worthing keeper Will Packham just before half-time.

David Lee then blasted wide from close range on 67 minutes after being picked out unmarked by substitute Jake Robinson.

Hammond made no mistake moments later with a neat volley after Worthing had only half- cleared their lines.

Albion were made to work for the win, however, as Worthing threw everything at them in the closing stages.

With former Seagulls Paul Rogers, Packham, Sean Edwards and substitute Gavin Geddes in the side there was never any chance of them giving up.

Rogers, who captained Albion to consecutive Division Two and Three championships, went the closest for the Rebels on 75 minutes.

He rolled back the years to thump a 25-yard free kick around the wall only to be denied by a superb low save by former team-mate Michel Kuipers.

Rogers said: "We weren't expected to win it and we knew it was going to be tough, but we gave a good account of ourselves. Sometimes when a non-league side comes up against a professional team, it's a case of keeping the score down.

"It wasn't really like that, although it was very difficult for us. They looked quite fresh which comes from training full-time. We've played a lot of games lately so it was hard."

Rebels' boss Alan Pook remained upbeat after the game despite seeing one of the only competitions he hasn't won as a manager elude him yet again.

He admitted the best team won and then paid tribute to his own players after an impressive performance. He said: "I thought they paid us the ultimate compliment with the side they put out. Most of their players have played in the first team this season.

"We didn't look the poor relations and I thought it was a good advert for Sussex football.

"We have played so many games and had so many injuries over the last few weeks that there were a few dead men walking out there. So to perform like we did was superb.

"The best team won on the day but I am proud of all of my lads and we can take a lot from that game."