Two goals in three second half minutes saw Eastbourne United AFC grind out an important 2-0 victory over a stubborn Mile Oak side at The Oval in their Sussex County Division Two clash, writes Dean Allchin.
United went into the match lying in third, just off the pace from leaders Newhaven and second-placed Littlehampton, whose match at home to Satldean was postponed.
Jamie Bunn and Pete Cooper returned to starting line-up with Mark Goodwin and Danny Simmonds the players to make way from the team which lost 4-3 in midweek to Bognor in the Sussex Senior Cup.
In a first half lacked any real threatening goalmouth action, Calum Sherriff came closest to opening his United account but his header went the wrong side of the crossbar.
Further chances fell to Simon Catt and Jack Divall, but neither failed to produce a save from the visiting ‘keeper.
With half-time approaching, a breakdown in communication between Shaun Lee and Adam Sargent let Mile Oak through on goal, but Sargent regained his composure to make a smart double save.
The second half saw United begin strongly with Liam Baitup narrowly shooting wide and into the side netting after rounding Aaron Stenning, but the angle was too acute for the striker to score his 30th goal of the season.
Mile Oak, who looked likely to make United pay with their counter-attacking style, went close through Ryan Pretlove, but the striker narrowly shot over from six yards out.
The scare inspired United and the home side took the lead on 66 minutes after a Jamie Bunn cross found its way to the back post for Divall to place the ball home for his eighth league goal of the season.
One soon became two as less than two minutes later; the ball fell to Catt who unleashed a powerful right footed strike into the top right hand corner to double United’s lead.
Cooper came close to making it three, but his turn and shot crept inches wide of the post as United kept up the pressure on the teams around them.
Eastbourne United: Sargent; Filsell (Simmonds 56), Lee, Sherriff, Featherstone, Stracey, Bunn (Barden 69), Catt (Del-Gaudio 77), Cooper, Baitup, Divall.