Eastbourne Borough banged a firm nail into Bognor’s relegation coffin and at the same time virtually assured themselves of National League South soccer next season as they convincingly defeated their struggling Sussex rivals at Priory Lane on Easter Monday.
The holiday weekend accurately reflected Borough’s unpredictable performances this season. A 4-0 defeat at Chippenham followed by a 3-0 win over Jamie Howell’s old club at Priory Lane; only Borough could go from awful to awesome in such maddening manner in the space of three days.
But to the credit of the Rocks, they started like an express train, piling on the pressure and forcing three corners in the opening eight minutes.
A fourth flag kick after a quarter of an hour caused major problems in the home goal area, only a desperate clearance by Kiran Khinda-John averting danger.
Borough looked as if they had a fierce fight on their hands until, completely against the run of play, the hosts took the lead in the 29th minute. A superb cross from the left by Archie Edwards was met by a mis-clearance in the visitors’ defence leaving Shaun Okojie to blast into the roof of the net from close range.
The Rocks were not prepared to lie down and die and the tricky Ibra Sekajja constantly caused problems for the home back four.
But those fears were soon dispelled as the hosts went two up four minutes after the resumption. A long free-kick from keeper Mark Smith found McCullum whose cross from the left was finished superbly from an angle on the right by Jamie Taylor.
That goal certainly calmed home nerves although it still could have been a different story but for a magnificent save by Smith to deny Harvey Whyte.
McCallum side-footed home the third in the 64th minute following more fine work from Torres.
The worst prospect for Bognor was the sight of a fresh Lloyd Dawes coming on for Odubade and the lively striker was soon making his presence felt with a great run and shot which brought the best out of home keeper Dan Lincoln.
Minutes later Dawes, en route to goal, was tripped in full flight by Whyte who was lucky to escape with a yellow card.
So a highly satisfactory win was perhaps tinged with a touch of sadness. With Whitehawk and Bognor locked at the bottom of the table a mile away from their relegation rivals above them, Borough will be the sole Sussex survivor in National League South next season.
Eastbourne: Smith, Pickering, Edwards, Taylor (Hendon 54), Khinda-John, Ransom, Wills (Harris 84), Torres, Okojie, Odubade (Dawes 67), McCallum. Unused subs: Simpemba, Platt.
Referee: Ian Fissenden.
MoM: Sergio Torres - 90 minutes of constructive hard work.