In February 2012, Tommy Widdrington took to the dugout for his first match in charge of Eastbourne Borough Football Club in what ended as a 1-1 draw away to Boreham Wood.
One year on and the Borough boss celebrated his first anniversary watching his men record the same score line against a battling AFC Hornchuch outfit on a bright but bitterly cold afternoon at Priory Lane.
While there’s little difference in a point in the pocket, the changes between then and now were evident for everyone to see.
Captain Ollie Rowe was the sole survivor of that squad to make the starting eleven on Saturday in the Sports’ first Blue Square South home fixture since Boxing Day and, while the table remains ludicrously tight, the point gained sees 11th-placed Borough looking firmly up the table rather than flirting with relegation as they were this time last season.
The Sports settled the quicker of the two sides, evidently reaping the benefits of an unchanged side from their 2-0 win at Staines the previous weekend.
In what was largely an uneventful opening half, the only real action came in the Urchins’ box, with Borough having three substantial claims for penalties within 20 minutes.
The first and third, which saw Charlie Gorman’s strike hit an arm and Jamie Smith take a tumble respectively, were both vehemently turned down by referee Ryan Atkins but he did point to the spot after Chris Shephard was unlawfully brought down by Alex Bentley just inside the half hour mark.
Elliott Charles coolly converted the penalty for his ninth goal in 11 appearances, ensuring he maintains his record of scoring in every league game of 2013 so far.
Hornchurch refused to roll over though, with striker Lewis Smith always causing the Sports’ rear guard problems but his efforts continued to find Ross Worner comfortably in between the sticks.
Therefore, there were few in the Borough camp who could say the visitors weren’t worthy of their equaliser when it eventually came in the 69th minute at a time when the Sports were down to ten men with Adam Watts off the field receiving treatment.
It was Michael Spencer who capitalised on Hornchurch’s temporary advantage, beating Marvin Hamilton at the far post to scramble home the leveller.
A lively 20 minutes ensued in which the Urchins’ Leon McKenzie squandered a golden opportunity, firing high, wide and not-so-handsome after lobbing Worner from a one-on-one.
Neither side managed to find the decisive breakthrough though and instead left deserving of a point a piece.
Eastbourne Borough: Worner 6, Hamilton 7, Raymond 7, Uddin 7, Rowe 7, Watts 6, Gorman 6, Smith 6 (Cole, 64), Walker 5 (Lok, 70), Charles 6, Shephard 7 Unused subs: Johnson, Adelsbury, Hart