Eastbourne Town sealed their progress to the third round of the Sussex Senior Cup with a comfortable victory in their first competitive fixture against Eastbourne United in more than three years.
But United played their part in Wednesday’s derby at the Saffrons. Paul Daubeney’s side, who sit bottom of County League division one hassled, harried and fought throughout and their endeavour deserved more reward in the second half.
The clash had ended as a contest almost before it had begun – Ryman League Town struck three times in the opening 16 minutes and put the result beyond doubt on the stroke of half-time.
In 2006-7 the clubs were competing on a level footing in the County League; both with lofty ambitions, both with talented squads, which combined youth and significant experience.
The key difference was off the pitch. United’s Oval ground was not up to the sufficient standard for the club to be considered for promotion. The Saffrons, on the other hand, needed only minor adjustments and when Town won the division in 2007 they were allowed to move up.
The Oval remains in need of a facelift and this is now the club’s priority, which has seen affairs on the pitch take a back seat.
And as soon as the sides trotted from the tunnel into the cold, the youth of United’s XI was immediately evident. Not only are they younger, they are also, on the whole, significantly slighter.
But neither age nor bulk was behind the opener.
The visitors were slow out of the blocks and after a cross from former United midfielder Brad Manton was only half-cleared Brett Patton lashed in from close range.
Two minutes later they doubled their lead when Sam Crabb’s cross was deflected into the net by a combination of defender and goalkeeper.
And in the 16th minute Crabb made certain himself, side-footing Manton’s pin-point delivery past Grant Fitzgerald.
It was four shortly before half time, when defender Dean Brooks prodded home from six yards.
The hosts withdrew Crabb and captain Greg Manton at the break and the second half was something of a damp squib, but it did demonstrate the potential Daubeney has at his disposal.
‘Enjoy it’, he bellowed repeatedly from the touchline, as his side grew in confidence.
But there was to be no breakthrough; the manager can only hope they were saving those goals for Saturday, when the stakes will be higher.
TOWN: Thorp 6, Simmonds 7, Carruthers 7, Brooks 7, Greg Manton 7 (Farrell, 46 mins), Patton 7, Eliot 7, Crabb 7 (Wright, 46 mins), Cooper 6, Brad Manton 7, Robinson 7.
UNITED: Fitzgerald 7, Filsell 6, Smart 6, Baptiste 7, Sellick 6 (Newby, 63 mins), Stracey 6, Saber 7, Daubeney 6, Andrews 7, Russell 6 (Brunsden, 38 mins), Whiteman 7.
MoM: Brad Manton. A quiet second half, but supplier-in-chief in the first.
Ref: David Spain
ABOVE: action from the game.