A 93rd minute header from Burgess Hill Town’s Pat Harding stole all three point in this Sussex derby on Friday.
Slack marking in injury-time meant an unmarked Harding was able to punish Town after it had been left to Kieron Thorp to produce heroics in goal.
In the 27th minute he made two excellent saves within 45 seconds. The first came from a Kenny Pogue strike from just outside the box which he palmed away one-handed.
Then when Burgess Hill pressed again with a drilled cross from the left, right-winger Tyrone Berry looked odds on to poke in from close-range.
However, Thorp somehow managed to claw his effort away to the astonishment of Berry and the spectators.
After the break it was a similarly lacklustre affair, unlike the 3-3 reverse fixture in November, in which Eastbourne surrendered a 3-1 lead.
In his second appearance for Eastbourne on Friday, Ross Treleaven produced a curling 30-yard central free-kick which Joel Harding in goal comfortably tipped over in the 52nd minute.
Match-winner Pat Harding went close in the 65th minute with his first free header which went straight into Thorp’s arms from a set-piece.
But Thorp was unable to prevent Harding’s header in injury-time after getting a right glove to the ball and turn in onto a post before seeing it bounce in, after substitute Max Miller’s dangerous cross from the right.
Eastbourne’s line-up included four ex-Burgess Hill players in Ryan Storrie, Matt Geard, Danny Curd and Matt Percival. As well, boss Danny Bloor previously managed the Mid-Sussex side.
Bloor said, “It wasn’t a very good game at all. Burgess Hill came to just smash the ball forward to their big players up front.”
Bloor was unhappy with the amount of minutes added on at the end.
He said, “The ref put his board up for two minutes. I ran a stop watch and they scored in the third minute of stoppage time.
“But these things happen. Maybe they even themselves out over the course of a season.”
Eastbourne Town: Thorp 9, Denton 6, Storrie 6, Elliot 7, Graves 6, May 6, Davidson 7, Geard 6, Curd 6, Percival 6 (Kirkwood 76’), Treleaven 7 (Bichard 71’) Subs not used: Crabb, Brooks, Godfrey
Booked:: Geard, Davidson, Curd
Referee: Lloyd Wood
Mom: Kieron Thorp – produced an outstanding first-half save