In a disappointing and ultimately fruitless journey to the south coast, the Beavers came home having dropped 3 points to relegation rivals, having Darren Powell nursing a niggle and with Dean Inman facing his 3rd suspension of the season, being dismissed for two bookable offences again, writes Rob Overfield.Once again Mark Harper made changes to the team, with Neil Jenkins returning to left back; Paul Johnson was therefore moved into midfield in place of Esmond James; Darren Powell came back into the centre of the defence, replacing Billy Jeffreys, who returned to the bench & Reece Jones took back the number 8 shirt in place of Karle Andrews.
The game didn’t really get going until the 18th minute when Eastbourne had two good chances in the Beavers penalty area, but the right boot of keeper Craig Ross and then the body of Lewis Ferrell blocked goal bound shots that should have been a wake up call. It was a call the Beavers heeded, and just 5 minutes later, they created chances of their own. A strong run by Reece Jones ended with him falling to the ground, but showing great presence of mind, he kept the ball between his feet and flicked it out to Paul Johnson, who took the ball into the area. However, he ran out of time and his attempt on goal was easily cleared by the gathering Eastbourne defence.
Dave Tarpey was his usual industrious self, and just 60 seconds later, he chased a pass into the corner; he played the ball into James Simmonds running into the box, however Simmonds couldn’t make the keeper work and the shot was well off target. By this time, Darren Powell was clearly not running freely and Billy Jeffreys came on, but within 3 minutes of the substitution, Eastbourne had taken the lead. The Sports had won a corner on the Beavers left and Alex Lacey sprinted up into the box to plant a header firmly past Ross; however questions must be asked of how his marker ended up on the floor behind him as the goal went in. The match video will be interesting.
The last 5 minutes of the half saw the Beavers create more chances; firstly Tarpey chasing a long ball and delivering a firm shot that Walker saved, then Tarpey doing the same a second time, but this time hitting the shot immediately, which Walker did well to parry. Simmonds finished the half wondering how Walker had managed to tip a shot wide after Tarpey had done well to create an opening. HT: EBFC 1 HRBFC 0
Both sides seemed to have enjoyed the half time break as neither really seemed to push on in the opening 15 minutes of the half but on 64 minutes, the game changed and not to the Beavers benefit. Dean Inman had already been cautioned for what appeared to have been dissent on 61 minutes, then three minutes later, he was cautioned for a second time – for what may have been no more than a clumsy challenge – and was sent to the dressing room. The game continued like a slow stroll on the Eastbourne seafront as action was limited; the only highlight being a last-ditch Jenkins challenge saving a possible shooting chance for the Sports on 66 minutes. With just 10 minutes to go, the Beavers were undone; the defence was split by a neat pass through the middle to Ademono, which left the players all looking for the assistant’s intervention. That never came and the striker finished coolly past Ross to effectively end the game as a contest. A late mini-flurry saw the Beavers win a stoppage time free kick just outside the box, but Tarpey couldn’t thread his shot through the mass of bodies, and it came to nothing.
Eastbourne Borough 2
Hampton: Ross, Ferrell, Jenkins, Inman, Powell (Jeffreys 25), Huggins (Andrews 75), Collier, Jones, Tarpey, Simmonds, Johnson (Murray 68). Subs not used: Turner, James.