It’s hard to keep Suarez out of the news at the moment - but this time it was Tonbridge Angel’s Mikel Suarez who was at the centre of the main talking point of Eastbourne Borough’s 1-1 draw in Tonbridge.
The normally mild-mannered skipper Ollie Rowe received a straight red card for what appeared to be a headbutt on Suarez after the pair tangled in the box.
It proved a major turning point in the match as Borough were 1-0 up at the time.
Jamie Smith had opened the scoring for Tommy Widdrington’s men on 51 minutes but a 70th minute leveller from David Ijaha saw Tonbridge gain the point they required to ensure they avoided relegation from the Blue Square South.
With Borough already safe from relegation they could afford to play without pressure.
Tonbridge’s Ollie Schulz headed against the woodwork in the first half and Darren Lok flashed a header just wide in a largely uneventful opening 45 minutes.
Borough reshuffled after the break as Jonte Smith, who scored his first goal for the club at Hayes and Yeading last Saturday, replaced left back Sam Cole.
But it was the other Smith in the side, Jamie Smith, that made the telling contribution on 51 minutes. The tricky winger cut inside from the left and unleashed a stinging 20-yard shot that flashed beyond Lee Worgan in the Tonbridge goal.
Borough’s chances of holding on to the lead were dealt a severe blow on the hour when Rowe was dismissed after he tangled with Suarez - no biting was spotted!
The Angels continued to look nervy and Widdrington’s side should have extended their lead on 67 minutes. Jonte Smith combined well with Lok but steered his effort wide from 12-yards out.
Danny Potter saved well from Suarez but the Borough ‘keeper could do nothing about the equaliser on 75 minutes. A long throw came in from the right, it was nodded down in the box and Ijaha smashed an effort into the top corner.
With Tonbridge in desperate need of the point, the home side looked nervous and Borough finished the stronger side.
As the minutes ticked away Lok so very nearly claimed a late winner but his header flew narrowly over the bar after a freekick into the box.
Borough’s final game of the season is this Saturday against Staines at Priory Lane.
See Friday’s Herald for full match report and reaction plus all the latest Borough news.
Borough: Potter, Adelsbury, Rowe, Watts, Cole (Jonte Smith 45), Hart, Aldred, Raymond, Jamie Smith, Charles, Lok.
Subs: Uddin, Ehui, Fenwick, Gorman.