Eastbourne Borough rounded off their pre-season programme with a comfortable 4-1 win over near neighbours Lewes on Saturday – and manager Jamie Howell can now set his sights on a flying start to the National south campaign when Braintree Town visit the Lane next weekend.
“We have six useful pre-season games behind us, with steady progress throughout. I have narrowed down my squad and we are developing a shape and style of play. Lewes was a very good test and we came through pleasingly.
“A few things needed sorting out at half-time, at 1-0, but then we raised the intensity and got a lot of things right in the second half. We’ll be training hard this week and we are eager to get the season started.”
Howell fielded a line-up which will probably be close to his starting eleven against Braintree. With three strikers – Pinney, Taylor and Odubade – on the field from the start, and the likes of Sergio Torres and Gavin McCallum just behind them, the Sports took the game to Lewes, and only a couple of splendid saves by Chris Winterton kept the first half-hour goalless. Then Nat Pinney, tripped in the box, converted the penalty himself for 1-0.
Torres and his team-mates needed to ride out some feisty challenges and tackling by the Rooks, but they were still creating the better chances, and two minutes after half-time Matt Drage – a powerful influence in midfield – doubled the lead, striding forward from midfield and striking a low shot from just outside the penalty area. Then sweet movement up front saw Odubadi smash home a third goal from Will Hendon’s cross, and young substitute Harry Ransom notched the fourth with a triumphant strike off the underside of the bar.
Rooks pounced on a defensive slip for a consolation goal, but this was still a convincing display and a satisfactory month’s work for Howell, who has reshaped and rebranded the Borough side. While not quite the finished product yet, there are plenty of reasons for optimism as the National South campaign opens.
Borough: Vose; Hendon, Khinda-John, Simpemba, Redwood; McCallum, Torres, Drage; Odubade, Pinney, Taylor. Subs used: Worrall, Ransom, Street, Crittenden, Horlock, Lovett.