Eastbourne Town went down 4-2 to Walton Casuals on Tuesday night to end the run, which had seen them not lose away from home since the turn of the year.
Danny Bloor’s squad has been decimated by injury and illness in the past week and there were several forced changes for the trip to the Waterside.
Steve May, Danny Curd and Ross Treleavan were all missing from the side that beat Sittingbourne 2-1 on Saturday.
Ryan Storrie did travel but after being ill on the way to the game he was forced to pull out. New signing Neil Watts was called up to replace him, with Aaron Hopkinson, Dean Brooks and Steve Elliot, who returned from injury, made up the rest of the starting eleven.
It was an ill mannered game that had plenty of action and talking points, although you wouldn’t of expected it after a dull opening 15 minutes in which neither side were able to get on top.
The game eventually sparked into life in the eighteenth minute when the home side went close to opening the scoring twice in the space of a minute. First Keiron Thorp was on hand to superbly tip the ball round the post with a full-length dive and then from the resulting corner Town were grateful to see a free header flash wide. Just six minutes later though Danny Bloor’s men found themselves a goal down via the penalty spot.
As Town skipper Elliot went to close down a cross the ball struck him on the hand and the referee pointed to the spot. Glenn Stanley stepped up to dispatch the ball past Thorp and begin what would turn out to be a frantic game.
Town continued to struggle to threaten the home goal with Matthew Geard’s curling shot which was straight at Walton Casuals keeper Gareth Williams, being their only effort in the opening 30 minutes.
However, in the 34th minute the game swung in Eastbourne’s favour when Casuals striker Anthony Morrison was sent off after picking up his second yellow card only ten minutes after receiving his first, for a wild lunge on Fogden.
Instantly Town set about making the man advantage count and four minutes before the break they were level. Winger, Aaron Hopkinson’s low cross from the right was perfect for midfielder Scott Kirkwood who’d made a late run into the box and he finished neatly with a first time volley across the keeper.
Soon after the break Hopkinson had a great chance to get on the score sheet himself, but through one on one he couldn’t beat the on rushing Williams who made himself big to block the shot.
Four minutes later Town were made to rue that miss when the home side regained their lead.
Possibly the best move of the night resulted in a low cross from the right and debutant Nathan Abery nipped in at the near post to score past a Town defence who were caught flat-footed.
With under twenty-five minutes remaining the ten men of Walton Casuals then seemed to have put the game beyond doubt when more slack defending from Town gave Ben King the freedom of the penalty area and under no pressure he calmly finished through Thorp’s legs.
However, never ones to give up Bloor’s men fought back immediately and reduced the deficit to just one a minute later. A deep cross from Hopkinson was met by striker Dean Brooks whose header looped in, with a little help from the post.
The away side piled on the pressure and nearly equalised when Geard found space in the box ten minutes from time but his volley was well saved.
As Town pushed for an equaliser they were always susceptible to the counter attack and sure enough in the 90th minute Walton Casuals finally put the game to bed. Substitute Kwabena Agyei was allowed to carry the ball to the edge of the eighteen yard box before cutting inside on to his left foot and curling a fine effort in off the post leaving goalkeeper Thorp as a mere spectator.
On Saturday Bloor’s men travel to Eastbourne Borough’s Sussex Senior Cup conquorers Crawley Down.
Eastbourne Town: Thorp 5, Denton 6, Fogden 6, Elliot 6, Watts 5, Crabb 5, Davidson 5, Kirkwood 6, Hopkinson 7, Brooks 6, Geard 6.
M.O.M: Aaron Hopkinson – Provided a constant threat.