The black cloud hanging above Eastbourne Borough’s head before this weekend has now started to lift after they ended a string of four consecutive defeats with victory over relegation rivals Hampton and Richmond Borough.
It was hardly a classic at Priory Lane, but then it didn’t need to be. Borough did the job that was required of them as they grafted a 2-0 win to earn all three points and ease their relegation fears.
The result lifts them six points above their opponents in the drop zone, albeit having played two games more. And with just two matches left to play, Borough hope to remain at the top of the handful of teams fighting for their Blue Square South survival.
Widdrington freshened things up for what he labelled a ‘must not lose’ match, returning veteran defender Darren Baker to the starting line-up and swapping strike duo Ellis Remy and Charles Ademeno for Ben Watson and Gary Hart.
After three matches without a goal, the Borough contingent were hoping the team would rediscover their goal-scoring instincts before it was too late.
The sides were evenly matched for most of the first half, with Borough just enjoying the better chances in front of goal.
Stuart Anderson should have broken the deadlock inside twenty minutes after Hart and Watson combined well to set him up in the box, but his effort was superbly saved by the feet of Hampton and Richmond ‘keeper Craig Ross.
The ball rebounded back out into the area and Anderson picked it up to have another shot on target, only for this one to be cleared by defender Lewis Ferrell.
However, it wasn’t long until Borough did take the lead after Alex Lacey found himself unmarked in the box to nod home a Matt Crabb corner in the 27th minute.
As the half drew to a close, Mitch Walker was forced to make a couple of excellent blocks from Dave Tarpey to deny Hampton and Richmond an equaliser.
However, as the visitors searched for a way back into the game, their job became even more difficult as they were reduced to ten men after 65 minutes. Dean Inman first received a yellow card for dissent following the referee’s decision to stop play and see to a Gary Hart head injury, and then picked up his second booking for a tackle on the Borough striker just two minutes later.
The victory was sealed ten minutes from time when substitute Charles Ademeno doubled Borough’s advantage with his first goal for the club. He latched onto a delightful pass from Stuart Anderson in the box before firing the ball into the bottom right-hand corner.
In a day when the result mattered more than the performance, Borough can draw a host of positives from their endeavours, not least their first clean sheet in over a month.
Hampton and Richmond Borough seldom tested the Sports’ defence, and while some may say Borough could have emerged with even more of a comfortable margin than 2-0, Widdrington and co. will be satisfied with the three points that takes them one step closer to survival.
ABOVE: Charles Ademeno scores the second goal on Saturday