Borough fans would have known the Boxing Day clash with Havant and Waterlooville wasn’t going to be a classic when they dragged themselves from their families and Christmas leftovers and headed for Priory Lane.
The wind howled, the rain came down in horizontal sheets and two fully-committed sides slugged it out for 90 minutes on a heavy pitch.
More than 500 fans also braved the conditions to cheer on Tommy Widdrington’s side who still, despite this 1-0 defeat, have an outside chance of reaching the Blue Square South play-offs in 2013.
Both sides are due to do it all again on New Year’s Day in Havant, but on Boxing Day it was the visitors who just edged the first of their festive fixtures when, in truth, a draw would have been the fair result. The crucial moment arrived in the 44th minute. Former Lewes player Christian Nanetti glided across the sticky surface and into the box before he crumpled to the floor following a clumsy challenge from Adam Watts.
Nanetti wiped the mud from his eyes, peeled himself from the turf and dispatched the spot kick despite the best efforts from impressive Borough loanee goalkeeper Ross Worner.
Minutes later Anwar Uddin pole-axed Havant’s target man striker Ollie Palmer. From the stands it looked another clear spot kick but referee Mr Palmer waved away Havant appeals.
The weather offered no respite after the break as Borough doggedly sought a foot-hold in the game.
On 50 minutes left back Frankie Raymond moved forward with purpose, wriggled his way free from midfield and whipped in an inviting cross. Kezie Ibewas well-placed but his first effort was superbly saved and the follow-up was blocked on the line. The ball fell to Elliot Charles but his shot from six yards hit the inside of the post and Havant hacked the ball away to safety.
Worner saved well from the dangerous Sahr Kabba and towards the end bravely denied an unmarked Perry Ryan.
Borough: Worner 8, Hamilton 6, Raymond 6, Uddin 5 (Lok 80), Rowe 6, Watts 5, Adelsbury 6 (Smith 55), Gorman 7, Ibe 6 (Walker 65), Charles 5, Shephard 7. MoM: Ross Worner
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Weather for Eastbourne
Sunday 19 May 2013
Temperature: 10 C to 15 C
Wind Speed: 10 mph
Wind direction: North east
Temperature: 12 C to 16 C
Wind Speed: 15 mph
Wind direction: North