‘SAME rubbish just on a Tuesday,’ muttered one disheartened Eastbourne United player stalking from the pitch.
Short of quality, plenty of willing and one result is how United’s season reads. A first-half goal from Ringmer’s busy Darren Lok – his shot dribbling past Grant Fitzgerald – was enough to put the home side away on a chilly Tuesday night and end even the remotest hopes of a late league revival.
Manager Paul Daubeney admitted it was a sense of ‘deja vu’ as United’s toothless attack failed to net.
He said, “They’re a good bunch of lads and we’re trying. Even their manager just said ‘defensively you’re looking good you just need someone to put the ball in the net’.
Ringmer’s Jayson Sowter floated a free-kick from his own half over United’s defence to Lok, lurking at the back post, whose shot was well blocked by Fitzgerald, going down to his right.
It looked as if United might ride their luck until half-time with some brave tackling from captain Tony Russell and good tracking back from Ashley John-Baptiste.
But after a United attack down the right flank broke down and Jamie Buckett relinquished possession, Ringmer were quick to punish the error.
The ball was punted upfield to Lok who found himself in plenty of space. His powerless shot dribbled cruelly along the ground but bobbled enough to beat Fitzgerald to his left. Daubeney’s side had blinked and been beaten by a whisker – but it was enough.
Despite some good first-half football from United the Ringmer goal seemed to sap their confidence and composure. Striker Danny Robson, obviously suffering from illness, and Russell, were eventually forced from the field and, in truth, United never looked like scoring.
Promising Siao Blackwood was threatening with the ball at his feet but did not have the quality around him to finish the job and at the other end heroic stops from Fitzgerald saved United.
“That was a game we thought we were in with a chance of winning. It’s a bit deja vu but we go again,” said Daubeney.
UNITED: Fitzgerald 8, Wilson 5, Smart 6, Russell 7 (Peters 67), Newby 7, Stracey 7, Robson 5 (Walsh 87), John-Baptiste 7, Buckett 5 (Barnett 60), Blackwood 7, Whiteman 6. MoM: Fitzgerald, Attendance: 65
Referee: Gary Hamilton
RIGHT: action from Tuesday night’s match