Eastbourne Borough continued their perfect start to their pre-season tour as they claimed a 1-0 win away at Hastings United on Tuesday, courtesy of a late goal from Ian Simpemba.
The Sports dominated possession throughout the majority of the game but struggled to create many chances in the first half, with the best attempt coming on the eighth minute from Chris Shephard who shot just wide after a neat through ball from Tony Garrod.
Hastings themselves had a decent chance to open the scoring at the Pilot Field a few minutes later as a Jordan Woodley free-kick was pawed over the bar by Craig Ross.
Both teams exploded out the blocks in the second half as Arrows forward Woodley once again came close to scoring, hitting the woodwork from a long attempt.
Six minutes later Boro came close to scoring twice after nearly scrambling the ball in after Hastings keeper Ryan Burbridge came off his line, followed by best chance so far after Darren Lok hit the post from a Shephard short ball.
The visitors created a few more opportunities including a Gary Hart low cross through the eight-yard box that went untouched, before on the 79th minute defender Simpemba finally netted one for the Sports with a close-range strike after the ball emerged out of the box off a corner-kick.
Although many more goals could have been scored, Tommy Widdrington was pleased with his squad’s performance, especially with the defence.
“I felt we were very solid today and I’m pleased we kept another clean sheet,” said the skipper. “We had eight or nine very good chances today, it could of easily been another 3-0.
“We were strongest in probably 70-80 yards of the pitch, we just need to work on the last 20-odd percent in the coming weeks.
“Hastings had that famous run in FA Cup last year and they definitely weren’t going to be afraid of a team only two divisions above them. They had quite a few chances themselves and provided us with a very competitive game.”
Widdrington was also quick to praise the efforts of Simpemba & Shephard, with the latter providing and creating many of the best chances throughout the game.
“As a defender I hope Ian won’t just be making all the headlines from scoring goals! I likened him to a Steve Bruce type, he is one of those types of guys when he’s in the opponent’s box he is always going to be a threat and getting chances to score off the back of set pieces.
“The important issue for Chris if that if he gets the protection he deserves, he should have a great season. He’s one of those players that creates chance after chance and whilst the squad plays well, he plays well. He could easily be applying his trade in a higher division so I am glad he is with us.”
Next up in the pre-season tour the Sports are away to Worthing on Saturday afternoon, where Widdrington will be hoping to pick up another victory.
“I purposely picked these games away from home as I want to be similar to what we were like last season, winning loads of games at the other grounds.
“By taking shorter trips to these local clubs I also hope will give us a better ‘home mindset’ when the new season kicks off as we struggled for results at Priory Lane last year.”
Eastbourne Borough: Craig Ross, Lewis Tallack, Frankie Raymond, Simon Johnson, Ollie Rowe, Ian Simpemba, Gary Hart, Charlie Gorman, Tony Garrod, Chris Shephard, Darren Lok
Hastings United: Ryan Burbridge, Ben Radley, Kwasi Edeusi, Tim Olurunde, Ben Judge, Jono Richardson, Sam Adams, Danny Ellis, Jamie Crone, Kenny Page, Jordan Woodley