After a string of draws in the Conference South, Eastbourne Borough claimed three valuable points with an exciting 2-1 victory over Hayes and Yeading on Tuesday night.
Borough climb four places in the table, just two points off the play-off places, and they look in good shape to welcome title favourites Ebbsfleet United to Priory Lane on Saturday (November 22).
With the rest of the nation glued to the Battle of Celtic Park, the 400-plus Borough loyalists who preferred their football live were rewarded with an excellent game, fast-paced and two-sided with the result in doubt until the very end.
Hayes and Yeading, with a young, athletic side, posed all the questions early on, with wide players Rhys Murrell-Williamson and Tom Collins creating several good openings, and from one such right wing move the visitors took a 31st minute lead, Pat Cox heading home at close range.
The Sports responded swiftly and four minutes later they were level, Darren Lok volleying in at the near post from a corner.
The second half saw Borough with plenty of possession – but Hayes and Yeading, defending in numbers, held on. And the visitors were beginning to look as if a point from 1-1 was the summit of their ambitions, but on 71 minutes Borough seized the lead, Marvin Hamilton smashing home amid a press of bodies as a corner steepled in from the right.
It was fitting reward for Hamilton, who also looked commanding at the back. And with one of last season’s stars Frankie Raymond shining in midfield, in the first game of his loan spell from Dagenham and Redbridge, the Sports were full of football.
Matt Parsons and Simon Johnson both hit the woodwork, and some further last-gasp misses kept the game alive as Hayes and Yeading produced a desperate final spell of attacking to try and salvage the game.
But Borough held firm and were good value on the night for the three points.