After a seven year stay, Eastbourne Town’s place in the Ryman Isthmian League came to an end on Saturday, as Whitstable Town took all three points at the Saffrons.
Town’s dismal season ended in another defeat as they bade farewell to the Ryman League and started to prepare for life back in the Sussex County League. This follows last season’s relative success when a record points haul and a highest ever Ryman League placing was secured.
The most experienced players in the Town side from last year left, some to follow Garry Wilson and Danny Bloor to Premier Division, Lewes FC, and without suitable replacements, this has proven to be a very difficult season. Steve Elliott and Ross Sutton have each missed too much of the season and this has added to Town’s woes.
One of the few positives has been the blistering form of top marksman, Billy Medlock, who has enjoyed a fruitful season in front of goal and, without his massive contribution, Town would have succumbed long ago. The summer appointment of Kevin Laundon as Eastbourne Town’s new manager failed to bring any inspiration and, following his early departure, Tony Reid’s reign fared little better. Town’s third boss of the season, John Lambert, had the difficult job of trying to salvage the season and whilst things improved, it was never going to be an easy job, especially as new players were difficult to attract. Now with time to re-group and re-assess, Lambert, along with assistant, Jamie Podmore and coach, Peter Heritage, has the opportunity to shape on-field things as he would like, as he attempts to return Eastbourne Town to higher league football.
Saturday’s game saw the visitor’s dominate the first period, although Town did have the ball in their net first. However, a flag for offside from the assistant referee kept the game without score. The deadlock was finally broken 2 minutes from the interval as Ashley Miller, often Town’s torturer this season, won a penalty. The striker got up to take the spot kick himself, sending James Broadbent the wrong way, as the visitors took a half time lead.
It was Miller who scored again for Whitstable Town on the hour mark, this time heading home at the far post. Whitstable’s third goal came from their substitute, Matt Martin, on 79 minutes, as, from Aaron Simpson’s cross, he tapped home to finish the scoring.
Eastbourne Town’s inability to stop leaking goals has cost them dear this season but a step back to the Sussex County League may allow Lambert and his team the opportunity to come back stronger and better prepared for Ryman League football, should they be successful with their efforts next season.
TOWN: Broadbent 5 Hollobone 5 Paul 5 Gilbert 6 Elliott 6 Clifford 5 (Holford 61) Upton 5 Bold 5 Norgro 5 Maclean 5 Hales 5 ( Johnson 77) Yellow card Bold (foul) MOM: Gilbert Att: 183