Eastbourne Town boss John Lambert insists his focus is entirely on the league as Peacehaven dumped 10-man Town out of the Sussex Senior Cup quarter-finals.
Lambert, speaking after the match, said: “The league is the most important thing for us. Next week could make or break us, with the four games in eight days.
“The biggest game is Saturday. They’ve (Walton & Hersham) just lost their manager I think, and have been beat a lot too, so that’s a must win.”
The visitors were ahead after just five minutes as Tom Burton stroked a cutback past the helpless Callum Christie. Burton grabbed his and Peacehaven’s second just nine minutes later when he was left unmarked at the back-post.
When Peacehaven’s Jamie Brotherton was bundled over in the box, Charlie Walker stepped up and converted to make it 3-0 after just 20 minutes, presenting Town with a mountain to climb.
The game was ended as a contest completely in the 53rd minute when the visitors were awarded a second penalty. Walker, who won the seemingly soft penalty, sent Christie the wrong way and conclusively closed the curtains on Town’s cup dreams.
Peacehaven’s winning margin might have been doubled if not for the heroics of Christie in the home goal. The Town goalkeeper pulled off several great stops, one from point-blank range to deny Burton a first-half hat-trick.
Eastbourne’s frustration was apparent when defender Marc Munday saw red shortly after the fourth goal when a late challenge on the nifty Charlie Walker gave referee Jacob Miles no choice, Munday received his second yellow and his marching orders.
The defeat will not leave Lambert disheartened for long though, as the Town boss admitted he was not anticipating a semi-final appearance: “Peacehaven at home wasn’t a game we were expecting to win,” he said.
“Our objective was to use tonight to have a look at one or two players. The players know the most important thing is the league.
Lambert concluded: “I am confident of winning some of the games next week but the defence is still my worry because we do regularly ship goals.”
Town welcome 19th-place Walton & Hersham to The Saffrons this Saturday for a 3pm kick-off in the Ryman Division One South.
Town: Christie, Davidson, Sutton (C), Jaosany,Munday, Del-Guadio, Powell, Payne, Adebayo-Rowling, Robinson, Medlock
Referee: J Miles