James Tilley struck twice in the last ten minutes to send Albion into the Sussex Senior Cup final.

The Seagulls beat Eastborough Borough 4-3 but were made to work very hard for it after cruising stylishly into a 2-0 lead at Culver Road last night.

Eastbourne Borough hit back to lead 3-2 helped by an Elliott Romain double before Albion’s under-23s produced a big finish.

They now face Crawley Town in the final, likely to be at the Amex, and coach Vic Bragg knows that means a lot.

He said: “The first 15 or 20 minutes were excellent and, even at 3-2, we felt if we could get back to that we were still in the game.

“We have been playing some really good football of late.

“We lost our calmness when Eastbourne started to hassle us a little bit more but they are young boys and I suppose that is inevitable.

“We emphasised they should keep moving the ball quickly and we felt, if we did that, we would win the game.

“It’s a big achievement for the boys because we had quite a young side out there.

“It means a lot to them and they are chuffed to bits to get into a final.”

Albion’s start was explosive. Connor Tighe started and finished a terrific move with a sidefoot shot just wide.

The Argus:

Aaron Connolly opens the scoring

Left-back George Cox was involved in that and he showed his ability to deliver a great ball when the breakthrough was made in the 11th minute.

Tilley sent the left-back charging clear and his pinpoint low delivery was expertly guided home by Aaron Connolly, the Irish forward who is making quite an impact..

The stretching Danny Mandroiu could only shoot wide when Cox picked him out with another good ball, this time from a deeper position.

Albion were quick, precise and also direct – not in a route-one sense but in terms of always looking for the most attacking option.

The tie looked beyond Borough when Dessie Hutchinson chipped the ball over a defender and guided it home as it dropped on 23 minutes.

But Borough were stung into action and Romain drilled home low from the edge of the box a minute later.

The equaliser on the half-hour was a nightmare for Albion keeper Billy Collings, Miguel Baptista’s corner was flighted straight to him but, under no pressure, he allowed the ball to slip through his grasp, off his upper body and over the line.

Jayson Molumby had a low shot saved by Lewis Carey’s foot after a slick move but Borough were now also doing themselves justice with and without the ball.

They had their own magician in Portuguese winger Baptista, whose trickery led to the corner from which Romain rose to head his team into a 55th minute lead.

Romain’s strike partner Nat Pinney really should have extended the advantage rather than hit the post when Baptista’s clever pass sent him through.

That proved a significant moment.

Tilley levelled in the 81st minute with a terrific near post header from Hutchinson’s corner and, four minutes later, drilled home after Carey had punched clear a cross.

Romain and Kiran Khinda-John both went close to levelling again and Borough felt they were a little unlucky to lose.

Assistant boss Hugo Langton said: “We have very mixed feelings.

“It took us 20 minutes to wake up and Brighton took the game to us.

“But the boys deserve a lot of praise. I felt once we went 2-0 down we controlled the game up until 80-odd minutes.

“The boys put in a phenomenal shift.”

Albion: Collings; Collar, Hall, Barclay (Cadman 46), Cox; Tilley, Hutchinson, Molumby, Tighe (J.Davies 69); Mandroiu (A.Davies 78); Connolly. Subs not used: Sanchez, Barker.

Borough: Hare, Khinda-John, Hobson, Stone; Baptista, Highes, Worrall, Oxlade-Chamberlain (McCallum70); Romain, Pinney. Subs not used: Taylor, Bosma, Simpemba, Horlock.

Yellow card: Baptista (63) dissent.

Referee: John Pike Attendance: 359.