Eastbourne Borough return to winning ways against Slough Town

Eastbourne Borough produced an all-round performance against Slough Town on Saturday – resilient in defence, cohesive in midfield, and lethal up front – to claim three points with a 3-1 victory.

Wednesday, 24th November 2021, 11:27 am
Updated Wednesday, 24th November 2021, 11:31 am
Eastbourne Borough produced an all-round performance against Slough Town on Saturday to claim a 3-1 victory. Picture by Andy Pelling

The visitors arrived on a five-match unbeaten run in National League South, while the Sports have had more mixed fortunes, without the results which their recent performances deserved.

But a large and jubilant Priory Lane crowd cheered to the echo as Charley Kendall’s terrific hat-trick sealed a decisive win.

Injuries have given manager Danny Bloor persistent headaches in recent weeks, but only Chris Whelpdale was missing from a squad that included QPR loanee Trent Mahorn – who looked mobile and confident at centre-back. Borough’s Mr Versatility, Joel Rollinson, slotted in impressively at left-back for the unwell Jack Currie.

A large and jubilant Priory Lane crowd cheered to the echo as Charley Kendall’s terrific hat-trick sealed a decisive win. Picture by Lydia & Nick Redman

Slough might have pinched an early lead when Ben Harris pounced on Lee Worgan’s under-hit pass out from the goal area, but Mahorn saved his keeper’s embarrassment with a swift block. Otherwise, Borough had the better of the first quarter of the match.

From very early, the Sports had been looking to turn the Rebels’ back line, and after a couple of close calls, they finally broke through on 20 minutes.

Jake Elliott – relishing the right back role after his long stint at centre-back – advanced 20 yards and fed a perfectly weighted ball in behind.

Kendall timed his run to perfection and struck a lethal shot on the turn. Keeper Jonathan North grasped vainly and got one hand on the strike, but it curled into the far corner of the net. A smashing goal.

Action from Eastbourne Borough v Slough Town. Picture by Lydia & Nick Redman

The Rebels did respond, but rather bluntly. Their principal weapon, the enormous long throws of Guy Hollis, caused potential threats, but the home defence held firm around the commanding figure of Mitch Dickenson, and Worgs enjoyed a trouble-free first half.

Indeed, the home lead should really have been doubled shortly before half-time. James Hammond, as always the canny motivator in Borough’s midfield, carved a move through the centre and Dom Hutchinson set up Charlie Walker into the left of the penalty area. But North narrowed the angle expertly and Charlie’s shot was turned away for a corner.

The Borough skipper – who as ever led the side by example – was furious with himself, but credit goes to the keeper.

Slough were still very much in the contest. Freddie Grant and Warren Harris combined fluently more than once on the left flank, but with no final product.

And a piercing move from the right saw George Hunt expertly set up Ben Harris, but the Slough skipper curled his shot just too high.

A single goal lead, then, and what could we expect of the second half? The Rebels – very well supported by an affable away following – had certainly not come down for the sea air and a stroll on the prom.

And after the break they pushed higher up the field and were never afraid to throw bodies into the action.

For a good 20 minutes, the Sports were largely under siege and Slough did look dangerous at set-pieces. But the home defence was well organised.

Grant tried his luck with a soaring long-range effort – reminiscent of the incredible fifty-yarder which won an FA Cup tie for the Rebels three years ago at the Lane! Clearly the next goal, if it came, would be crucial.

Josh Jackman’s challenge on Hutchinson earned a yellow card, in a game which had been robust but never ugly, and then as Slough’s efforts still foundered on the rocks of the home defence, Borough took control.

Jaden Perez played in Kendall, and with an excellent advantage played by referee Tom Danaher, the young striker struck – a blistering shot from the edge of the box – to double the lead.

Cue a cascade of noise and celebration, not only on the pitch but behind the River End goal, where dozens of jubilant youngsters had been revelling in the action – and bringing fresh life to staid old Priory Lane. Make sure you come back next Saturday, guys!

The Rebels, who had really made a game of it, visibly wilted, and just six minutes later it was 3-0. Not content with his first assist, the buoyant young Perez looked for a goal of his own, as Hutchinson’s skipping run set up a shot for him.

This time, North sprawled across goal to parry the strike but could not hold it – and a triumphant Kendall whacked in the loose ball and collected the match-ball. More mayhem behind the goal, and a whole-team celebration on the pitch.

There was time for a consolation for Slough Town, through the persistent Ben Harris, but the points were already safe.

A whole-hearted, well contested game, and a smashing hat-trick for a young striker who is striking terror in opposing defences. And the Sports are back to winning ways.