Eastbourne Borough recorded their first victory of the season with an encouraging 2-0 win against Chelmsford at Priory Lane on Tuesday night.
Striker Richard Pacquette and Gavin McCallum scored the crucial goals but Borough were also grateful to man of the match Lewis Carey who produced an excellent display in goal on his home debut.
It means Tommy Widdrington’s men have claimed a very acceptable four points from the opening two fixtures of the Vanarama South campaign and will no doubt leave fans quietly optimistic for the coming season.
It wasn’t always comfortable viewing for the home supporters though as Chelmsford were always a threat on the counter attack against Borough’s 3-5-2 formation.
On five minutes the Essex outfit combined well down the left flank. The cut back found skipper Mark Hughes in space on the edge of the box but his side footed was straight at the well-placed Carey.
Five minutes later and it was Borough’s turn to squander an opportunity. Marvin Hamilton crossed well from the right and striker Richard Pacquette drifted unmarked to the far post but his header from five yards out was wide of the target when he really should have scored.
James Walker was selected ahead of Darren Lok to partner Richard Pacquette up front. Walker had a chance to impress on 38 minutes when Simon Johnson, operating as left wing back, floated a nice ball into his path. Walker took it well on his chest but his shot was blocked by an excellent sliding challenge from Chelmsford defender Mark Haines.
Borough supporters had good reason for concern when last season’s reliable goalkeeper Craig Ross moved on. But replacement Carey looks like a sound piece of business by Widdrington.
He doesn’t appear the biggest between the sticks but commands his area with authority and produced some excellent saves and showed tremendous agility throughout the evening to keep the visitors at bay.
His first piece of serious action denied Joe Ward when the striker was clean through following Adam Watt’s slip on the left.
A goal looked on the cards but Carey was raced off his line, narrowed the angle and smothered Ward’s effort. Carey was called upon once again on the dash of halftime when he tipped Lee Sawyer’s deflected effort around the post.
Borough improved after the break and began to apply serious pressure on the Chelmsford rearguard. Walker was a willing runner throughout and on the 63rd minute he drew a freekick on the right after chasing down a long through ball.
The set piece was hit long beyond the far post and was headed back into the danger zone where Pacquette was lurking to flick a header into the net to open the scoring and claim his first goal since returning to the club.
Carey ensured the score remained 1-0 when he flung himself brilliantly high to his right to safely divert Hughes’ fizzing freekick before Gavin McCallum settled the nerves with an excellent second.
The decisive strike came on the 70th minute when the left-footed midfielder cut in from the right, exchanged a neat one-two with Walker before firing in a powerful finish from the edge of the box.
Boss Tommy Widdrington said, “Chelmsford looked to get the ball forward quickly. They had a big strong lad up front with two boys coming in off the wings and they caused us a few problems.
“But the one or two chances they did have, I thought our goalkeeper stood up brilliantly.
“We changed our shape in the second half and the boys who are here to create and score goals stepped up to the plate in the second half.
“I’m delighted for Pacs (Pacquette) and Gavin (McCallum) to get off the mark in front of our own punters.
“Four points from our first two games is great, I’m delighted.”
Eastbourne Borough: Carey, Hamilton, Khinda-John, Aldred, Simpemba, Watts (Beale 61), McCallum, Sinclair, Pacquette (Lok 71), Johnson, Walker.
Subs not used: Lovett, Bown, Worrall.
Chelmsford City FC: Eyre, Love, Redwood, Hughes, Haines, Ekpiteta (Callander 75), Sawyer, Southam, Ward, Cheek, Smith.
Subs not used: Miller, Berkane, Gregory, Freund.
Booked: Hughes 61, Ward 80
Referee: C Pollard