Eastbourne Town recorded back to back league victories for the first time this season as they recorded a fine away win at Sittingbourne.
After Tuesday night’s excellent win over Bognor Regis Town, this was a more low key performance, in part, due to the absence of the influential Steve Elliott and Matt Percival, with both nursing niggling injuries.
Skipper, Nick Fogden and top scorer, Sam Crabb returned to the Town starting line up, with recent acquisition, Neil Watts on the bench.
Having drawn with Maidstone United last Saturday, Town were visiting Bourne Park for a second successive weekend, this time to play Maidstone’s landlords, Sittingbourne who themselves were in a dreadful run of just one win in 16 games and none in the last eight.
The first chance of note fell to the hosts on eight minutes when their big striker, Joe Nwoko found himself unmarked in the Town penalty box but his shot went wide of Thorp’s goal.
Within a minute Town responded, as a delightful pass from Matt Geard split open the home defence but Ross Treleaven’s first touch was too heavy and took the ball away from the goal. His shot was very tame and was easily cleared.
Following some bright approach play, Geard then fired in a 20 yard shot that was easily held by Woodward, in the home goal.
Town were forced into an early change as Treleaven, having aggravated an old injury, was replaced by Aaron Hopkinson after just 27 minutes.
The enforced changes in personnel, the efforts from Tuesday night and the heavy nature of the pitch all seemed to affect Town’s fluency and rhythm, as a drab first half came to a close.
However, right on the stroke of halftime, Eastbourne Town received a bonus that allowed them to grab the lead. Some terrific centre forward play from Danny Curd saw him win and hold the ball well before playing a super pass around the corner and inside the Sittingbourne right back.
As the defender stood watching, rooted to the spot, a very grateful Scott Kirkwood took careful aim before dispatching his shot into the bottom corner of the Sittingbourne net to put the visitors in front.
Opening the second half with more confidence, Town applied constant pressure and deservedly took a two goal lead on 52 minutes.
Following a series of threatening corners and throw-ins, the ball arrived at the feet of Luke Denton and, after a one touch control, he delivered a super, pin point cross that found Matt Geard by the penalty spot.
The pace on the delivery combined with the power of Geard’s header left the home ‘keeper without a chance as the ball fizzed into the net. Town still needed to be on their guard as Sittingbourne applied more and more pressure. A free kick delivered from the right ran untouched across the Town box before being cleared to safety.
With the game opening up, the host’s, McGeehan, sent a long shot wide as Sittingbourne tried to regain a foothold in the game. Storrie had to guide a header back to Thorp to thwart another home attack on 71 minutes but, within a minute, the home side was rewarded as they scored from a free kick, carelessly given away by substitute Dean Brooks. Sittingbourne’s assistant manager, Bradley Spice, himself on as a substitute, smashed a shot straight through a poor defensive wall and inside Thorp’s right hand post to set up a nervy last 20 minutes.
The hosts raised their game and piled pressure on the Town defence but the visitors held firm and, from a lightening break, could have scored a third, however, Crabb was flagged for offside. Eastbourne Town’s successful season ‘on the road’ continues and on Tuesday they pay visit to Walton Casuals in good form.
TOWN: Thorp 6, Denton 8* (Watts 72), Storrie 6, Fogden 6, Geard 7 (Brooks 66’), May 8, Davidson 6, Kirkwood 7, Curd 6, Crabb 7, Treleaven 6 (Hopkinson 27’ 6)
Unused Subs: Percival and Simmonds Booked: Watts
Man of Match: Luke Denton - top quality performance