Bishop’s Stortford 1; Eastbourne Borough 0
Eastbourne Borough’s Skrill South play-off ambitions were dealt a blow as Brian Woodall’s superb first-half volley earned Bishop’s Stortford a welldeserved victory at the ProKit UK Stadium, writes Stephen Kent.
It was Stortford’s first league win in 11 games and they could of scored more had it not have been for a fantastic performance from Borough goalkeeper Craig Ross.
Jack Deaman tested the Hertfordshire team’s defence early with a header from a corner and Sam Cole’s powerful long-range effort was well dealt with by keeper Joe Wright.
This early pressure from the visitors soon faded and and the Stringers started to dominate possession with a good chance coming from Reece Prestedge who just couldn’t reach Ryan Melaugh’s low cross through the six-yard box.
Stortford continued to attack and on the 36th minute were rewarded with a fine goal after Matt Johnson’s free-kick from the halfway line fell to Woodall who expertly half-volleyed the ball past several bodies and into the right corner of the net.
Chances kept coming for Stortford with Woodall almost adding a second after his header was just tipped over the bar by Ross.
Borough manager Tommy Widdrington took to the the touchline after observing the first half in the stands and brought on Elvis Hammond and Stacy Long to inject some energy into his side.
Frankie Raymond also came on later, but it had little effect on the flow of the match and Ross was again called into action, producing a brilliant double save to deny Matt Johnson’s header and blocking Anthony Church’s low strike.
Stortford kept pressing and showed no signs of weary legs after playing Eastleigh just two days earlier and Church once again tested Ross with an on-target header from Cliff Akurang’s cross.
In the dying minutes of injury time Hammond almost pulled off the spectacular, an overhead kick which to his dismay, just rolled wide to the left of the post.
Widdrington was quick to admit that his team was second best. “We were beaten by the better team on the night, I have no gripes.
“Before they scored we were on the front foot. To concede the goal in the style we did was shocking, we were unable to keep Woodall marked properly all evening.”
On the subject of his recent retreating to the stands, Widdrington said, “I’ve found that looking from a higher vantage point helps me look more at the shape and dynamics of the team.
“The squad is also quite young and they don’t need me ranting and raving at them all the time. As long as they learn from their mistakes I have no qualms.”
Boro get little time to lick their wounds as they face another tough away match in the shape of fellow play-off hopefuls Bath City on Saturday.
“I’m happy that we have another game so soon, it means we get a chance to quick put right what happened today.”
Eastbourne Borough: Craig Ross, Jack Deaman, Sam Cole (Frankie Raymond 73’), Matt Aldred (Stacy Long 60’), Ian Simpemba, Adam Watts, Ollie Rowe, Charlie Gorman, Tom Derry, Darren Lok, Simon Johnson (Elvis Hammond 60’). Unused subs: Lewis Tallack, James Stinson.
Bishop’s Stortford: Joe Wright, Ashley Miller, Johnny Herd, George Allen, Callum McNaughton, Harry Baker (Michel Richens 73’), Matt Johnson, Anthony Church, Brian Woodall (Cliff Akurang 82’), Ryan Melaugh (Sam Cutler 61’), Reece Prestedge © - Unused Subs: Josh Fagbohun, Rohdell Gordon.