By Ken McEwan
at the saffrons
EASTBOURNE Town secured their second league win of the season at the Saffrons, but if they were hoping for a Bank Holiday goal bonanza against pointless Crawley Down they were in for a rude shock.
It took a 70th minute penalty which gave Town a 2-1 lead and reduced the visitors to 10 men before Danny Bloor’s men were able to really establish their superiority.
Bloor afterwards paid tribute to the Sussex side promoted from the County League last season. “Credit to them; they worked their socks off and were very resolute. It takes time to adapt to this league, but I believe that within a few weeks Crawley Down will be climbing up the table,” he said.
Bloor thought the winning margin should have been greater. “But for their keeper, Danny Curd would have had a hat-trick.” The manager also took comfort from a solid defensive display in which Jim May was outstanding. “I don’t normally single out individuals, but Steve was excellent. He is snot a left-footed player, but was forced to play left-back because of injuries and did a fantastic job ,” he enthused.
There was controversy in the 18th minute when Curd went sprawling after Down keeper Michael Hunter appeared to clatter into him. Town fans thought the whistle had sounded for a penalty, but instead Curd was shown a yellow card for diving after several minutes’ treatment.
Two minutes later Curd was a much happier man as he met a Nathan Crabb cross with his head. The ball bounced down and the outstretched hand of keeper Hunter could only help it into the top corner of the net.
Soon after, Down defender Ben Swetman was inches away from making it 2-0 when he turned May’s cross from the left just over the bar.
Sam Crabb tested the keeper early in the second half before sending a rasping angled drive fractionally wide of the far post as Town sought to increase their advantage.
But in the 53rd minute Down stunned the home side when dangerman Hassan Nyang headed home Brannan O’Neil’s corner from the right for his and his team’s second goal of the campaign. Town worked hard to restore the lead and were rewarded in the 70th minute when Roy Pook received his marching orders for using his hands to stop a fierce Sam Crabb shot. Scott Kirkwood gleefully rammed in the spot kick.
There was only one team in it now and twice Curd was denied by fine saves from the keeper.
The final nail in the Crawley coffin came five minutes from time when a magnificent piece of football involving Brad Manton and Nathan Crabb ended with Sam Crabb nonchalently slotting in Manton’s final ball.
TOWN: Thorp 6, Denton 7, May 8, G. Manton 6, Fogden 7, Freeman 6, Kirkwood 7, S, Crabb 8*, Curd 7 (Greenfield), N. Crabb 7 (Lusted), B. Manton 7 (Hendon). ATT: 201. REF: John Pike Hove 7. MoM: Sam Crabb – much hard work rewarded with a killer goal.