By Ken McEwan
EASTBOURNE Borough went from cruise to crisis as they scrambled into the third qualifying round of the FA Cup with a 4-3 victory at the expense of never-say-die Carshalton Athletic on Saturday.
With the score at 4-1 in the second half, it looked like a walk in the Priory Lane park for Jamie Howell’s team, but the Bostik South league leaders refused to lie down, striking twice and going dangerously close to forcing a replay.
Carshalton gave an early indication of their intentions when Bailey Vose was forced to make a superb diving save to keep out a ferocious low drive from Antone Douglas in the opening minutes.
But it was The Sports who had the tonic of an early goal when Harley Willard’s inch-perfect cross was finished with aplomb by Yemi Odubade in the 10th minute.
Four minutes later the visitors looked set to level when Raheem Sterling-Parker burst clear of the defence only to be denied by a magnificent last-gasp challenge from Ian Simpemba whose day of mixed fortunes included an own goal, hitting the woodwork and a yellow card for a mis-timed tackle.
In the 18th minute it was 2-0 thanks to a spectacular strike from Sergio Torres whose 25-yarder fizzed into the roof of the net, no doubt reminding Torres of his cup exploits with Crawley Town some years back which ended at Old Trafford.
The previously unbeaten Robins were back in the game in the 18th minute when Michael Miller’s cross from the right was turned into his own net by Ian Simpemba.
But any threat of a Carshalton comeback seemed out of the question when Odubade completed his brace by nonchalantly heading a cross from Charlie Harris.
And when goal-scoring machine Jamie Taylor made it 4-1 two minutes into the second half, it seemed all over by the shouting.
At this stage Borough were in complete control with a series of near misses capped by Simpemba’s effort bouncing down from the underside of the bar with Borough players claiming the ball had crossed the line.
But somehow Carshalton weathered the storm and when Sterling-Parker raced away to lob over the advancing Vose, the tempo of the game suddenly changed.
Carshalton had a spring in their heels and were starting to win the 50-50 balls. When Bobby Price made it 4-3 with home defenders appealing for offside, Borough knew they were in for a nervy last 12 minutes.
Carshalton didn’t disappoint with a series of near misses and home hearts missed a beat when Sterling-Parker hit the bar.
But Borough survived and are into the next round with £4,500 in the bank – and in the FA Cup that is all that matters!
Borough: Vose, Redwood, Simpemba, Charman, McCallum, Harris (Drage 75), Wills, Torres, Odubade (Worrall 89), Taylor (Pinney 60), Willard. Unused: Street, Pearson, Pickering, Ransom.
MoM: Yemi Odubade; two smart finishes, but Torres a close contender.
Referee: James Durkin.