A battling win at Southwick during a hard fought clash that included five bookings could prove a crucial victory for Eastbourne United come the end of the season.
Southwick had the better of the first half and Adam Sargent had to be at his best to tip over a 30 yard drive from Stuart Garrod before he saved well from Lewis Finney in a one on one situation.
Howver the shotstopper could do nothing to stop a cross from Mark Kokat bouncing off the cross bar as the home side opened the scoring.
Drew Greenall looked United’s best hope for a goal heading over the bar from a Nick Barden cross and just failing to get enough on a Mark Goodwin cross to beat keeper Callum Fidler.
However United’s luck changed a minute from the break when a Barden volley from a Goodwin cross struck a defenders arm and Peter Cooper confidently rolled in the resultant penalty.
Southwick would have felt hard done by and could have been expected to come out hard at the start of the second half but it was United who increased their lead after only two minutes.
Greenall had already had a header from a corner blocked on the line before he held the ball up well before giving Simon Catt the chance to loop in his first of the season.
United gained some control and Greenall, Cooper and Catt all had good chances.
United’s defence looked comfortable with Danny Simmonds slotting in well beside Peter Featherstone in the centre.
But with 12 minutes to go they were caught square by a run from midfield by Garrod who was brought down by Sargent as he went round him.
The keeper was lucky to see only a yellow card and Mark O’Regan struck home the spot kick for a consolation.
On Saturday Eastbourne United welcome division two strugglers Oakwood to the Oval for the second round of the County League RUR Cup.