Eastbourne Borough face Tuesday night replay despite taking lead twice
Despite taking the lead twice Eastbourne Borough ended up with the unenviable prospect of a Tuesday night FA Trophy replay at Salisbury.
A place in the second round proper should have been achieved at the first time of asking but a lack of quality in front of goal, poor defending and some fine saves by visiting keeper Marcus Beauchamp left the tie undecided.
Once again fewer than 400 spectators turned up at Priory Lane on Saturday, many season-ticket holders refusing to pay twice to see one game.
Borough got off to a perfect start with a goal in the seventh minute. Michael West’s cross from the right was missed by Charlie Walker, only to arrive at the lethal foot of Dean Cox who made no made mistake.
The lead lasted just two minutes. The home rearguard switched off as Warren Bentley made ground on the right and his cross was comfortably converted by Toby Holmes,
Borough went all out to regain the lead, but were foiled by two fine saves by Beauchamp in as many minutes to deny first West and then Cox.
The Sports did regain the lead in the 29th minute and what an incredible goal it was. Beauchamp had to dash way out of his goal to head clear, but the ball fell to Charlie Walker 10 yards inside the Salisbury half. There was no way the keeper could get back in time as Walker’s amazing strike from all of 40 yards ended up in the back of the net..
Borough looked certain to go into the interval with a goal advantage but in stoppage time defensive hesitancy failed to avert a dangerous situation and Holmes’ intended pass was deflected into the net by the unlucky Manny Aidbowaie.
With 16-year-old Ben Overton on for the injured Walker, the second half was a ferociously fought affair, with the speedy Salisbury front-runners causing all sorts of problems for the Borough defence.
Tom Hadler did well to thwart Holmes in a one-on-one situation and certainly, no unsuspecting neutral would have known that Salisbury were a step lower than Borough in the Southern League Premier.
Overall there was little to choose between two evenly matched sides neither of which possessed that cool head in front of goal needed to secure a welcome cheque for £4,500 for his club.
With a congested Christmas programme coming up, an additional 90 minutes at Salisbury was the one thing neither side would have wanted.
Borough: Hadler, Adebayo-Rowling, Campbell, Wills, Adebowaie, Cox, West, Wheeler (Khinda-John 75), Walker (Overton 43), Ferry, Gayle. Unused subs Chalmer-Stevens Blackmore, Hanson, Gharbaoui, Bray.
Referee: Wayne Cartmel.
MoM: Charlie Walker a goal to remember.