Eastbourne Borough fall to impressive Dartford
Eastbourne Borough were blown away on a savage Saturday afternoon when they would dearly have loved to have given Sergio Torres his first win as caretaker boss.
As a raging wind and driving rain swept across Priory Lane, it was Eastbourne resident Steve King who watched his visiting Darts team take three points for the first time under his charge.
It was ironic that two players who were shining in Borough colours not so long ago proved key figures in the host team’s downfall.
Freshly signed Elliott Romain doubled the Darts’ advantage with a spectacular second-half goal, while last season’s regular keeper Mark Smith pulled off a great save to prevent The Sports from getting back into the game.
The conditions were horrendous with the ball regularly changing course in mid-air as a result of often needless aerial clearances
In the first half Borough failed to make use of the wind power at their backs and despite having most of the play were constantly troubled by rapid Dartford breakaways.
Three corners in the opening 10 minutes looked promising for Borough, but an all-too-familiar lack of a cutting edge meant Smith had precious little to do.
On the other hand Dartford breakaways always threatened a goal and one finally came on the half-hour when from a shrewd through ball from Luke Allen, Norman Wado raced away to coolly slot past the advancing Tom Hadler.
Some odd decisions by ref Joel Mannix did not go down well with the hardy 444 spectators and it was certainly hard to see how a blatant body-check by Tom Bonner to stop Charlie Walker breaking away was completely ignored.
In the 38th minute, Borough were close to an equaliser when Walker headed Michael West’s free-kick a foot wide.
At the other end, Romain should have doubled the Darts’ advantage after Kiran Khinda-John was dispossessed, but his fierce drive was beaten down by the keeper.
In the 70th minute came a moment when every home fan wished Romain was wearing a Borough shirt (as he had been just a few weeks previously) when his stunning 30-yard screamer fizzed into the roof of the net to put the match virtually beyond doubt.
Even so The Sports kept plugging away and only a super save from Smith denied West before Walker’s free-kick come off the underside of the bar.
The breaks certainly failed to come Borough’s way and it seemed a shame that Torres kept himself on the bench when his presence on the the park would surely have added energy to the home midfield..
Dean Cox did make a difference when he came on, but in many supporters’ eyes he should have been a starter.
So, after three months of the season, Borough find themselves perilously close to the National League South relegation zone.
With a reduced budget now in force, there will doubtless be twists and turns ahead, but of one thing there is no doubt; the new Eastbourne manager has a tough task on his hands,
Borough: Hadler, Adebayo-Rowling, Campbell, Wills, Khinda-John, Adebowale, Luer, West, Wheeler (Gharbaoui 88), Walker, Ferry (Cox 55). Unused subs: Torres, Chalmer-Stevens, Janneh.