AFC Hornchurch 0 Eastbourne Borough 1
Chris Shephard was the star man for Eastbourne Borough once again after his second-half goal from a free kick gave his team a much-needed, first league away win this season.
The first half went the way of the Essex side as AFC Hornchurch dominated possession and had their first shot on target in the 23rd minute - a long-range effort by Simon Glover was just pawed over the crossbar by Borough’s recent on-loan signing Joseph Day.
The former Peterborough keeper continued to be Borough’s greatest asset in the first half with two sterling saves coming in the last few minutes before the break, including a great diving effort to deny Hornchurch’s Tambeson Eyong mid-range strike.
A good talking to in the break from manager Tommy Widdrington inspired the Sussex side after the break, with the visitors making a lot more of their chances and garnering the majority of the possession in the second half.
In the 72nd minute Shephard found himself in space on the right wing and was running towards the box before Hornchurch’s keeper Joe Woolley made a reckless dash for the ball, bringing down Shephard and earning Borough a free-kick.
Shephard picked himself up and from just outside the 18-yard box he struck the ball to perfection, flying past the Urchins’ wall and straight in to the corner of the net for the midfielder’s seventh goal of the season.
Hornchurch’s best chance to salvage a point came in the final minutes of the game with Wayne Gray’s powerful header hit the ground in front of the goal but rose sharply to just clear the bar
A relieved Widdrington said after the match, “I’m delighted for the players and the fans. We have a quiet self-confidence about what we do at the moment.
“We have been losing games in recent weeks by the slimmest of margins, and thankfully today we won by the slimmest of margins. I said to the lads if you try hard and long enough at the right things, matches will go your way.”
The boss also spoke highly of his top goal scorer, “I brought Chris Shephard here to be a little bit different, his ability is better than this level and today he managed to score at the perfect time for us.”
He was also pleased with his new keeper, “He has come in and done what we thought he would do. He could have been sitting on the bench for Peterborough but he wanted to come here and play regularly and he has been brilliant so far.”
The win takes Borough out of the drop zone and up to 17th in the league, but with only one point separating Maidenhead at 12th and Havant & Waterlooville at 21st the upcoming games will be crucial for the Sports.
AFC Hornchurch: Joe Woolley, James Love (Leon McKenzie 78), Alex Bentley, Simon Glover, Paul Goodacre (Ben Bowditch half-time), Reiss Noel, Tambeson Eyong (Michael Spencer 84), Frankie Curley, Martin Tuohy, Lewis Smith, Wayne Gray. Unused subs: Joey May, Rimmel Daniel.
Eastbourne Borough: Joseph Day, Marvin Hamilton, Sam Cole, Ben Adelsbury, Ollie Rowe, Anwar Uddin, Simon Johnson, Frankie Raymond (Rhys Paul 89), David Knight (Darren Lok 63), Gary Hart, Chris Shephard.
Unused subs: Ellis Remy, Ben Adams, Nick Jordan
Goals - Shephard 72 min.
Bookings – Tuohy 61 (H) – Woolley 67 (H) – Rowe 74 (E) - Smith 75 (H)
Attendance - 277
Officials - J O’Brien with P Georgiou and P Johnson