Below-par Town fail to fire at Whitstable

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Eastbourne Town’s latest visit to Kent ended in disappointment, as they suffered their first away defeat of the season.

Their day at the seaside did not go as planned, as hosts, Whitstable Town, earned their first Ryman League victory of the season with a 2-0 win.

It could have been so different, had the visitors capitalised on their early superiority.

For the first 30 minutes it was Eastbourne Town who looked much the better team and the more likely to score.

The hosts seemed lacking in confidence, despite Manager Justin Lutchford fielding three new signings.

Eastbourne Town boss, Danny Bloor, was forced into changes after last week’s tough FA Cup tie at Littlehampton.

Ben Billings played at left back as Ross Sutton failed a fitness test, Sonny Cobbs was ruled out with Matt Geard taking his place while Steve May was named on the bench.

Town started brightly and had the ball in the Whitstable net on six minutes. Matt Crabb whipped in a freekick and Ben Austin headed powerfully home but the assistant referee waved for offside.

Two minutes later Danny Curd shot over the crossbar following a long John Lansdale throw in and the same player was thwarted minutes later, as his shot was cleared for a corner, following a strong overlap from Ben Billings.

The match was turned on its head on 31 minutes when a Whitstable throw in on their right caught the Eastbourne Town defence completely flat footed.

Stuart Vahid’s sharp turn left the visitors for dead and, from his low cross, Jake Beecroft shrugged of his marker to score with ease past Sam Reed.

On 40 minutes, Sam Reed kept his side in the match with a point blank stop from Damian Abel.

The half time team talk did not have the desired effect, as Whitstable scored again within two minutes of the restart.

Man of the Match, Jake Beecroft crossed deep to the far post where Scott Heard ran unchallenged to bury a header past the helpless Reed, to put the hosts two goals to the good.

On 50 minutes, Bloor brought on Sam Crabb and Steve May for Luke Denton and John Lansdale as Town moved to playing three at the back.

Danny Curd had a glorious chance to score following some great wing play from Sam Crabb. Sadly the striker did not make clean contact and the chance rolled wide of the Whitstable goal.

Town then had another disallowed on 67 minutes, as Fogden’s powerful header was ruled out for a minor infringement.

Whitstable proved dangerous on the counter attack and Steve May stopped a certain third with a super block as Eastbourne threw caution to the wind.

TOWN: Reed 7, Lansdale 6, Billings 6, Austin 6, Fogden 6, Elliott 7*, Denton 6, Strevett 6, Curd 6, Geard 6, M Crabb 6

Subs: S.Crabb 7 for Denton 50mins, May 7 for Lansdale 50mins, Greenfield for Billings 73 mins. Booked: Strevett, Geard, May MOM: Steve Elliott - on a day of poor performances all round

Att 131