Eastbourne Town threw away a one goal lead on Wednesday night as they were knocked out of the Ryman League Cup losing 2-1 to fellow Ryman League South side Dulwich Hamlet.
The home side had led early in the second half thanks to a Matt Geard penalty but two goals from the visitors in the last half hour saw Town exit the cup at the second round.
Manager Danny Bloor made a host of changes after the 1-0 win over Tooting and Mitcham on Saturday, resting the likes of Danny Curd and Matt Crabb and recalling several players returning from injury as well as handing debuts to several new faces.
Eastbourne Town keeper, Greg Nessling was called into action within the first few minutes, tipping Frankie Sawyer’s stinging drive round the post albeit rather unconvincingly in difficult wet conditions.
With 21 minutes on the clock the home side had their first meaningful attempt on goal but Geard was unable to punish a costly slip from the Dulwich defender, his shot sailing comfortably over the bar.
Just past the half hour mark the visitors missed the best chance of the game so far. A good cross from substitute, Nyren Clunis found Sawyer unmarked at the back post but he somehow managed to head the ball wide of the target. They went even closer five minutes later, this time only being denied buy the woodwork. Dominic Weston did well for the home side to reach the byline and pull the ball back for Dulwich captain, Peter Adeniyi but his first time effort struck the left hand post and rebounded away to safety.
Town got off to the best possible start in the second half, taking the lead From the spot. Striker Alex Howells pounced on the loose ball after Dulwich goalie, James Tedder spilled a low cross, only to be hauled down by the keeper. The referee had no choice but to point to the spot and Geard duly dispatched sending the keeper the wrong way with a well taken penalty.
Town’s lead didn’t last long though and the visitors drew level with half an hour to go.
A long ball over the top caught the Eastbourne defence off guard and Sawyer was allowed to nip in and finish past the on rushing Nessling. With less than ten minutes remaining and penalties fast approaching Town suffered what was to be the killer blow.
Midfielder, Erhun Oztumer, the smallest player on the pitch was allowed a free header and he gratefully accepted the opportunity just squeezing the ball between Nessling and the near post.
Eastbourne Town XI: Nessling 6, Pulling 6, Rogers 7, Fogden 6, Pogue 45’ 6, Elliot, 6 Summerville 45’ 5, Lansdale 6, S.Crabb, 5 Berry 6, O’Callaghan 6, Howell 7, Geard 8. MOM - Matt Geard.