Eastbourne Town’s four game winning streak came to an end on Wednesday night as they were beaten 3-0 by Maidstone United at the Saffrons.
Town gave a brave performance after being forced to play 75 minutes of the game with ten men after captain Sonny Cobbs, the hero from the weekend’s victory over Walton and Hersham was sent off for a professional foul.
Danny Bloor’s side put up a good fight against a team tipped for promotion, keeping themselves in the game until two goals in the final 15 minutes for the visitors finally killed the game off.
It was 13th minute unlucky for Town as they were dealt a double blow early on.
A goal kick was flicked on for Maidstone striker Paul Booth to race onto and heading towards goal he was hauled down by captain Sonny Cobbs inside the penalty area.
Things went from bad to worse for Town as the referee deemed Cobbs to be the last man, brandishing a red card and reducing Town to ten men. Booth then picked himself up to score the spot kick and give Town a mountain to climb with only a quarter of the game gone.
However spirit is high in the Town ranks and Danny Bloor’s men wasted no time feeling sorry for themselves and almost equalised immediately when a Matt Crabb free-kick was spilt by Maidstone keeper, Charlie Mitten, and was cleared.
Centre-half Ben Austin also went close twice with two headers. At the other end, goalkeeper Josh Pelling pulled off a fine full-length save to thwart Maidstone.
Eastbourne continued to press for a leveller in the second half, but in stark comparison to previous weeks the free scoring Town seemd to lack the cutting edge necessary to force an equaliser.
Their best chance falling to Matt Crabb who shot wide from 12 yards after the away side had failed to deal with a Richard Greenfield cross.
Maidstone then made Town pay for their lack of attacking prowess, showing their hosts how it’s done, putting the game out of Town’s reach with two goals in the final 15 minutes.
Striker Booth grabbed his second of the game finishing a good run by cutting inside and finishing cooly past Pelling from close range.
Maidstone, many pundits’ pre-season promotion favourites, wrapped up the points when Ian Draycott volleyed home with less than five minutes to go.
A first defeat in four sees Eastbourne drop back to sixth in the table, but still just three points off top spot in what is already proving to be a very tight league.