‘Sometimes you have to hold your hands up and say you were beaten by the better side’ was Eastbourne Borough manager Tommy Widdrington’s assessment of their 1-0 home to defeat to Dartford earlier this evening.
Elliot Bradbrook’s second half goal was the difference between the two sides on a night where Boro’s second placed opponents secured their Blue Square South play-off spot.
Widdrington’s men made a decent start and threatened early on with long range efforts from Matt Smart and Charles Ademeno.
But the Darts eased their way into the game and almost took the lead when skipper Ollie Rowe misjudged a clearance which smacked against the post.
Dartford were awarded a penalty when Ben Austin handled in the box but Mitch Walker produced a excellent save to deny spot kick specialist Adam Green.
On 42 minutes the visitors rattled the woodwork once more. Lee Noble delivered a corner and Luke Wilkinson’s header came back off the cross bar.
After the break the Darts took the lead. Matt Crabb gave away possession cheaply, Green delivered a near post cross and skipper Bradbrook nipped ahead of the defence to fire home at the near post.
Gary Hart, Jason Mason and Ben Watson were introduced to try and salvage a point but Boro’ just could not breakthrough a well-drilled Dartford unit.
Widdrington said, “Dartford are the best side in this league. We could certainly learn a thing or two from them. It’s no surprise they are near the top and going well.
“For the first 30 minutes we were okay but we did not do enough when we had possession.”
See Friday’s Herald for full match report, reaction and pictures.
Eastbourne Borough: Walker; Austin (Watson 83), Lacey, Rowe, Cole, Johnson, Anderson, Smart (Mason 70), Crabb (Hart 64), Ademeno, Remy
Subs not used: Charman, Baker
Booked: Remy 71
Dartford: Wells, Burns, Wilinson, Bonner, Green, Noble, Champion, Bradbrook, Rogers, Erskine, Harris
Booked: Erskine 54
Subs not used: Hayes, Jones,Pallen, Goodacre, Garrod
Referee: Mr D Cook