OFF the field at the Oval on Saturday, campaigners were busy spreading awareness of their efforts to save the DGH.
On the field, though, nobody seemed capable of saving United who ended a disastrous week with a first league defeat following FA Cup and Vase exits.
United’s new, compact stand offers much more comfort at the Oval these days, but if there are many more displays like this, that comfort will serve to send supporters to sleep rather than enjoy the game.
There was plenty of effort by Paul Daubeney’s men but precious little creativity. Wick took home the points by taking the only two first half chances that came their way and by getting bodies behind the ball to negate United’s attacking efforts.
Boss Daubeney admitted, “We could have been out there all day and it would not have materialised for us. Perhaps they wanted it more than us; we simply weren’t at the races.”
Daubeney felt his men suffered the worst of a number of poor refereeing decisions, but ref Phillip Wilks, although far too pernickety, could not be blamed for the home team’s downfall.
Wick went ahead in the 16th minute when the United defence failed to deal with a free-kick from the right and Anders Wyatt drilled home from an acute angle on the left.
Six minutes later Ross Adams ran on to a back header from Michael Frangou and slotted past the advancing Adam Sargent.
There was more urgency about United’s play in the second half with Liam Baitup going close with a header and new signing Drew Greenall and Simon Catt both missing chances. Greenall did get the ball on the net, but a foul had been committed on the keeper.
At the other end United were fortunate not to go three down when Adams hit the post and from the rebound forced Sargent to make a fine save.
The hosts finally got back into the game in the 73th minute when Baitup slotted home from the penalty spot after Greenall had been fouled by Michael Hamm in the area.
Baitup also earned himself a booking as he virtually wrestled keeper Jordan Matthews to the ground in his anxiety to get the ball back to the centre circle.
United did their best to snatch an equaliser without ever looking like getting one against a physical Wick side who had four players booked.
It was one of those games they will simply want to forget.
UNITED AFC: Sargent 6, Lee 5, Hughes 5 (Bunn 67mins – 5), Featherstone 7, Sherriff 7, Catt 6, Del-Gaudio 6, Greenhall 6, Goodwin 5 (Stracey 45min – 6), Baitup 6, J. Bunn 6.
MoM: not awarded. ATT: 117.
Eastbourne United show their support for the Save the DGH campaign. ABOVE United vice-chairman Barry Allchin is pictured with Save the DGH campaign leader Liz Walke ahead of the Wick match. The march will take place on Saturday, September 15 from the Redoubt at 10am