There’s a fine line between winning and losing, elation and despair. Sometimes, it’s only a matter of seconds, minutes.
For Eastbourne Borough, it was six minutes. That was all it took for Dorchester to grab two late goals, snatching the opening-day victory from under Borough’s noses and breaking the hearts of their travelling fans.
And as the boys in yellow buried their heads in their hands, Dorchester celebrated a 92nd minute winning goal knowing they’d just got away with daylight robbery.
The day didn’t get off to the best start for the Sports as their arrival at Dorchester’s Avenue Stadium was delayed by over an hour due to heavy traffic - typical of a sunny August Saturday afternoon along the south coast.
Despite that, a strong starting 11 stepped out onto the pitch, eager to draw first blood as the new season got underway.
Widdrington’s first line-up of the new season was subject to a lot of speculation prior to Saturday’s match after a pre-season campaign that witnessed plenty of chopping and changing to the Borough squad.
Most surprisingly, new signings Charles Ademeno and Chris Shepherd started on the bench while Widdrington handed competitive debuts to six players, including James Walker, Josh Scowen and Anwar Uddin.
After a slow start, the visitors gradually gained the upper hand. Scowen enjoyed the best chance of the half, glancing a header towards goal after an inch-perfect cross from Gary Hart. Dorchester ‘keeper Jason Matthews leapt to a magnificent save to deny the loan signing from Wycombe his first goal for the club.
The match remained goalless heading into the break but there was little doubt Borough had dominated the opening 45 minutes.
Shortly after the restart, Widdrington introduced Ademeno into the field of play – a substitution that proved instrumental in Borough taking the lead just after the hour mark.
For it was the former Crawley striker who provided the swinging cross into the box for Walker to control and thunder into the net off the underside of the crossbar, giving Borough a slim but deserved one-goal advantage.
For the next 20 minutes, they were in control. While Dorchester slightly raised their game, it never seemed a possibility that Borough would leave the Avenue Stadium empty-handed – until the 87th minute.
With three minutes of the 90 left to play, referee Carl Brook awarded Dorchester a free kick on the edge of the box after he considered Rowe to have challenged unfairly.
The decision was hotly-contested by the Borough skipper but his protests made little difference as Elliot Ward swept the ball into the corner of the net to equalise for the home side.
That was devastating enough for the Borough contingent, but the worst was yet to come.
Halfway through injury time, James Reid, assisted by ex-Borough striker Ben Watson, delivered the killer blow to the Sports, firing into the roof of the net over an outstretched Potter to complete the comeback and steal all three points away from a now-deflated Borough squad.
And as the final whistle blew on the first fixture of the 2012/2013 campaign, Borough prepared to embark on the long journey home from Dorset pointless and in disbelief at how quickly the victory they were sure was theirs, ended up being pinched from right under their fingertips.
INSET: AN impressive debut from the Wycombe Wanderers loanee Josh Scowen