Manager Steven King dedicated Lewes' Sussex Senior Cup win to a lifelong supporter who died earlier this year.

King promised former player Gordon Treagus and his wife Ethel that the Rooks would win the competition in his honour before he passed away due to cancer.

Lewes ensured King was true to his word yesterday as they beat battling Horsham in an epic final at Eastbourne.

The game went on for almost three hours due to injuries and extra-time before King's men could celebrate clinching only the fifth Senior Cup success in their long history.

They played most of the game with ten men after Djoumin Sangare was sent off on 22 minutes and had to come from behind.

King took time out partying with his players at the final whistle to receive a hug from Ethel.

He said: "I went to visit Gordon in hospital and he died the following week. I said to him that we would win the Senior Cup for him and that is why she came and cuddled me at the end.

"I thought about him quite a lot before the game because he played for Lewes and had come to watch the club for 50 years.

"I wanted us to do it for him and it was great that we were able to."

King admitted missing out on the Conference south play-offs was an added incentive for his side to pick up the silverware.

Rooks were denied a place despite finishing fourth because their ground did not meet the requirements for promotion.

King said: "I would not say this has softened the blow of the play-offs but it did make it more important that we won.

"We needed to get something to show from this season, so we were determined to win it."

Lewes' success looked unlikely at half-time when they were a goal and a man down.

Sangare was given his marching orders after bringing down Jamie Taylor as the striker was about to race clear on goal.

The defender was the last man and the referee had little choice but the fact the incident happened 35 yards from goal angered Lewes.

King said the dismissal was a major reason the favourites were pushed all the way but he also paid tribute to opponents Horsham.

John Maggs' side, who beat Albion Reserves and Crawley on their way to the final, bridged the two-division gulf separating the sides to produce a performance they could be proud of.

Some of their quality of football was magnificent and, on this evidence, they will have no problems making the step up into the Ryman premier division next season.

Carl Rook gave them the lead on 37 minutes following a superb build-up. Nigel Brake exchanged passed with Gary Charman and crossed low from the left flank for the onrushing Rook to stroke into the bottom corner.

Maggs reckoned the turning point of the game was the double injury blow to his side.

Rook was stretchered off with cracked ribs after colliding with giant goalkeeper Paul Wilkerson.

It came moments after Lewes had equalised through a Roscoe D'Sane penalty on 70 minutes following a foul by Tom Graves on Jean-Michel Sigere.

Play was held up again at the end of 90 minutes when Charman was carried off and taken to hospital after being knocked unconscious following an aerial challenge with substitute Leon Legge.

Maggs said: "When you lose two of your most influential players, it makes a big difference.

"We had a lot of momentum at the time and we lost it because the game kept stopping for the injuries."

The pivotal point for Lewes was the introduction of lively frontman Lee Farrell, who scored the decisive goal five minutes into extra time.

It came thanks to deflection off Horsham midfielder Lee Carney, which released the pacy striker. He still had a lot to do, though, as the rounded keeper Rob Frankland and slotted in from a tight angle.

Rooks were handed the third goal in the last minute as Horsham poured forward.

Frankland raced upfield for a corner but was then left desperately trying to scamper back as Lewes booted the ball clear.

He could not catch Sigere, who ran from the halfway line unchallenged and passed into an empty net to give the scoreline a flattering look.