Eastbourne Town could go joint-top of the Ryman Division One South if they see off Maidstone United in what Danny Bloor has described as their toughest test yet.
Town welcome the former Premier Division side to the Saffrons on Wednesday night and, should they overcome their tough opponents, they will go level on points with table-toppers Crawley Down Gatwick.
Boss Bloor said, “It will be a really tough game. If we’re to really start believing in ourselves, we have to be beating teams like Maidstone, who were the pre-season favourites .
“We have a few injuries but Saturday was a true test of character for us and we’re looking forward to Wednesday.”
Town head into their midweek clash on a confidence high after chalking up their fourth consecutive league victory in a seven-goal thriller with Walton and Hersham at the weekend.
A penalty from Matt Crabb, a close-range effort from Ben Austin and a brace from Sonny Cobbs secured the stunning 4-3 win in an action-packed encounter at the Saffrons.
The drama started as early as the third minute when the visitors took the lead through a well-taken free kick from Gary Frewen that squeezed past Town ‘keeper Josh Pelling into the bottom right-hand corner.
Walton started cruising and 15 minutes later, their dominance was further reflected in the score line as they doubled their advantage – a sublime chip from Graeme Purdy sailing over Pelling to make it 2-0.
Town were undeterred though and captain Cobbs soon gave them a lifeline back into the match as he got on the end of a free kick to guide his looping header home.
That injected some fresh impetus into Danny Bloor’s side and they swept forward, peppering the goal with half-chances.
Their efforts were rewarded though as the referee pointed to the spot ten minutes before half time following a foul on Danny Curd by Dan Sintim, who received a yellow card for his troubles.
Crabb duly despatched the penalty to levels the scores and, to swing the match in Town’s favour just before the interval, Sintim was sent from the field after picking up a second yellow card.
However, despite the disadvantage, it was Walton who came out stronger in the second half and they regained the lead nine minutes after the restart through a Purdy header.
But, true to the rollercoaster that the match had been so far, Town equalised just five minutes later as Austin drilled home from close-range.
There was one final twist in the tale yet though as, with just three minutes of normal time remaining, a shot rebounded off the crossbar into the box where Cobbs had the simple task of slotting home to see his side pocket the hard-fought three points.
The result lifted them up to third in the Division One South table ahead of their highly-anticipated clash with Maidstone, which kicks off at 19:45 tomorrow.