After 24 long weeks and six agonising defeats, that winning feeling returned to Priory Lane this weekend as Eastbourne Borough deservedly took three points from league leaders Woking.
Alex Lacey’s first goal for the club and a superb effort from Ben Watson ensured victory for the home side to lift them four points and four places above the relegation zone.
The last time Borough won on home turf was against Eastleigh in early October. However, after recent good form of eight points from five matches under Tommy Widdrington, a home win was never too far away.
Priory Lane’s biggest crowd of the season was rewarded with glorious sunshine and glorious football as Borough dominated high-flying Woking, looking like a completely different side to the one that lost 1-0 to Ryman League outfit Crawley Down in the Sussex Senior Cup semi-final on Wednesday.
The fixture also saw the Boro’ boss come up against Garry Hill again, almost five years after their touchline bust-up in which Hill was fined £1,500 for head-butting Widdrington and subsequently breaking his nose.
That added a little extra spice to a match that was already vitally important for both teams at both ends of the table.
Widdrington kept the same starting line-up that beat Staines the week before, which meant a place on the bench for the Sports’ new signing Charles Ademeno.
The Cards’ goalkeeper Aaron Howe was called into action first to deny a shot from Matt Crabb, whose resulting corner was nodded past Howe by Alex Lacey to put the home side in front after thirteen minutes. Borough’s lead was doubled just two minutes later after Darren Baker played a beautiful ball to put Watson clear on goal. He then rounded the keeper and slotted away from an impossible angle for his third goal in as many games.
The lead was nothing more than Borough deserved after producing some of the best football Priory Lane has seen in recent years.
Woking almost pulled one back five minutes before half time, but Darren Baker was in the right place at the right time to clear off the line. However, not long after the restart Woking did get off the mark after it was deemed Simon Johnson handled in the box. Giuseppe Sole converted the spot kick to set up a nervous second half for the Sports.
Eastbourne had a similar claim for a penalty harshly turned down later in the half.
Woking continued to pile on the pressure, and it almost paid off as the ball got bundled into the net in injury time. But, to the delight and relief of the Borough contingent, the goal was ruled out for offside. Kevin Betsy was sent off in the ensuing protests.
Borough held out and, as the final whistle blew, the elation was evident on the pitch, in the dugout and on the terraces.