ON a day when most people were thinking about fireworks, all Borough could offer was a damp squib against a Poole team struggling in the lower regions of National League South.
This was a Saturday afternoon of embarrassing humiliation. The Dolphins started the game nine points adrift of the Sports, but returned home reflecting on how two soft goals, a penalty and a free-kick had taken them to their fourth win on the road.
There were times when Jamie Howell’s men served up some half-decent football. But not until late in the game did they ever really look like scoring when Harley Willard’s shot came off the bar and visiting keeper Nick Hutchings pulled off a wonder save to deny the hard-working Sergio Torres.
It is the Borough defence that continues to give boss Howell major problems with its indecision and lack of organisation.
Matt Drage gave a sign of what was to come when his dreadful crossfield ball put his defence under pressure in the fifth minute.. But on this occasion Poole failed to take advantage.
Borough were behind after a quarter of an hour when Leon Redwood lost possession as the hosts launched an attack and a deft through ball from the back saw Warren Bentley time his run to perfection before slotting past the advancing Bailey Vose.
Five minutes later, the Dolphins doubled their advantage when Borough failed hopelessly to deal with a corner, Will Spetch’s shot stopped on the line and Bentley did the rest.
So for the second successive Saturday home game, Borough found themselves two behind at the interval and chasing the game.
They desperately needed an early second half goal if they were to have any hope of salvaging a point, but instead they found themselves three down just four minutes after resumption when a blatant body-check by Drage resulted in Steve Devlin’s perfect free-kick from 20 yards thudding into the roof of the net.
Jamie Taylor unleashed a fierce drive which flashed past the post as Borough briefly came to life and home defender Corby Moore was inches away from putting through his own goal.
But in the 64th minute, Jez Bedford was upended in the area by Kane Wills and Bentley jubilantly completed his hat-trick from the penalty spot.
The last 10 minutes saw Borough at last find some form as Willard’s shot crashed against the post and a superb Torres’ 25-yarder was tipped over by Hutchings who shortly after did well to save a Drage free-kick.
Young sub Harry Ransom had a chance to net a consolation when he failed to convert Will Hendon’s cross at the far post, but the damage was far too great to repair.
The optimism which followed the previous Saturday’s win at Hungerford has suddenly turned to despair.
More home points have been frittered away; the play-off contenders have become harder to catch.
This was a chance to leapfrog into the top half of the table. Instead it’s that mid-table position which supporters have been all too familiar with in recent seasons.
If only more players could display the class, hunger and tenacity of Fergio Torres, it would be a very different story.
Eastbourne: Vose, Hendon, Redwood, Wills, Khinda-John, Drage, Willard, Torres, Dawes (Worrall 75), Taylor, Harris (Ransom 61), Unused subs: Simpemba, Plummer, Charman.
MoM; Sergio Torres: never stopped working and a deserved a goal when his great effort brought the best out of the keeper.
Referee: Ian Fissenden. Att: 487.