A first half brace from Josh Bonnett meant Walton and Hersham moved above Eastbourne Town by one point after winning 3-1 at the Saffrons on Saturday.
Bonnett struck in the 29th minute after cutting in from the left and was unchallenged as he picked out the bottom corner of Ryman League debutant Tom Godfrey’s goal.
Godfrey, with Kieron Thorp rested, began confidently and saved well from a Harry Smart dipping volley in the 21st minute after sprawling to his left and holding on with strikers ready to pounce.
But he couldn’t keep out Bonnett for the second time in the 34th minute, when Dan Sintim’s quick feet undid the Town defence on the left.
His run into the box ended with a shot that was smothered away by Godfrey, but into the path of Bonnett who smashed the ball high into the net through several Town defenders.
Shortly before the half-time break, Town came close to grabbing a goal through winger Sam Crabb. A long throw from Luke Denton was flicked on by the hustling Danny Curd for Crabb to sting the fingers of Rodney Chiweshe, who turned it around the post.
The Surrey side scored again in the 53rd minute when, for the second time, Godfrey was unlucky after saving well. His parry away of a Victor Keri shot from the left was tapped in by striker Jason Henry to make it 3-0.
This was a harsh scoreline on Town who deservedly made it 3-1 in the 66th minute. A fierce volley across goal by Luke Denton from the right was directed in by Curd who stole in behind the defence.
Both sides were then reduced to ten men when Matthew Geard and Dan Sintim were dismissed for an off-the-ball incident three minutes later.
Late on, Town hit the woodwork twice but couldn’t find the net. In the 88th minute, Danny Curd unleashed a swerving 30-yard strike that clipped the bar as it passed the rooted Chiweshe.
Then in the fourth minute of injury-time, skipper Nick Fogden slammed a shot from inside the box against a post, as the Walton defence looked nervy.
Town used a weakened side and boss Danny Bloor was appreciative of the efforts of his players. He said, “We’re doing things right. We can take positives today with young players like Max Hollobone and Joe Summerbell getting a chance in the first team.”
Steve Elliot and Steve May sat out Saturday’s clash in preparation for the Brighton Marathon on Sunday in aid of the NSPCC and Prostate Cancer charities respectively.
Eastbourne Town: Godfrey 7, Denton 7, Storrie 6 (Geard 45’), Watts 6, Fogden 6, Hollobone 6 (Summerbell 64’), Davidson 6, Kirkwood 6, Curd 7, Crabb 7, Brooks (Fernando 81’) 6
Subs not used: Kessack, Thorp
Bookings: Watts, Fogden
sent off: Geard
Referee: Nolan Wilde
Attendance: 186 MoM: Curd – came inches from a 30-yard wonder strike
Reserve cup final
On Monday, Eastbourne Town reserves faced Eastbourne United reserves in the Eastbourne Challenge Cup final. See Friday’s Herald for details.