Trophy dream is over

Eastbourne Borough’s hopes of progress to a Wembley FA Trophy final ended at Nethermoor Park as Guiseley snatched a victory with a late goal in Tuesday’s third round replay.

Joe O’Neill’s header gave Guiseley the edge in an exciting tie, earning the Blue Square Bet North club a home tie with Luton Town in the quarter finals.

Boro’s day began with an early start and a 600-mile round coach trek to West Yorkshire. They didn’t arrive back at Priory Lane until 5am on Wednesday morning.

In between they had been involved in an intriguing match, with both sides producing committed displays.

The visitors were forced, once again, to make changes with the injured Ethan Strevett replaced by Steve Brinkhurst, while Mick Demetriou made his debut in place of Matt Crabb, who was on the bench.

Eddie Hutchinson continued in an unaccustomed central defensive role.

There was little to choose between the two sides in the opening exchanges. O’Neill, scorer of the equaliser in Sussex on Saturday, came close early on, but his goal-bound effort was blocked by Darren Baker.

Shortly afterwards, Tommy Forecast needed to be alert to parry Gavin Rothery’s free-kick and James Walshaw’s follow up.

At the other end a neat through-ball held up in the mud, denying Richard Pacquette the chance of a shot at goal.

The game burst into life two minutes after the start of the second half when Walshaw, sent off in Saturday’s tie at Priory Lane, opened the scoring. His speculative cross from the by-line flew into the far corner of the Boro’ goal.

But Guiseley’s lead lasted only four minutes. The Sports were awarded a free kick which was met by Gary Elphick who headed over ‘keeper Steven Drench to level the scores.

Once again there were opportunities at both ends of the pitch as the two sides battled for control.

As the hosts pushed forward Forecast denied both Rothery and Walshaw with two fine saves, but with extra time looming a Ryan Toulson throw-in found Rothery who made space only to see his shot blocked.

But the ball was then crossed to the far post where Walshaw headed it back across the six-yard box for O’Neill to stoop and nod home from close range with just four minutes remaining.

Boro’ were unable to break down a stubborn home defence as the final minutes ticked away.

The focus now, as if it needed to be said, entirely on league survival.

Boro: Forecast 7, Baker 6, Jenkins 6 (Spencer 89), Hutchinson 7, Elphick 8, Smart 7, Brinkhurst 7, Weatherstone 6, Demetriou 6 (N. Crabb 85), Pacquette 6, Taylor 6 (M. Crabb 85). Subs not used: Banks.

Ref: Mr West 6

Att: 414