By Ken McEwan
Fabulous February became frustrating February as Eastbourne Borough ended a month that had produced seven points and eight goals with a 2-1 home defeat at the hands of a Weston team reduced to 10 men for much of the second half.
On a bitterly cold day at Priory Lane on Saturday, it would have been ideal to have followed the magnificently observed minute’s applause for Mike Spooner with another resounding victory.
But after having the softest of soft penalties awarded against them, Jamie Howell’s men failed to make their numerical advantage pay and will live to rue the missing of enough chances to have won the game handsomely.
In a first half which saw two frozen keepers in danger of hypothermia, the only two shots on goal actually produced goals.
Borough, facing the icy wind, took the lead in the 33rd minute when Yemi Odubade picked his spot perfectly following a shrewd ball from Kiran Khinda-John.
The lead lasted just six minutes when home keeper Mark Smith failed to gather Jarrad Welch’s fierce low drive cleanly and Kenan Dunnwald drove in the equaliser.
With the wind now behind them, Borough came out in the second half meaning business and they were right out of luck when Odubade’s spectacular volley on the turn shook the crossbar.
Archie Edwards provided a great ball for the lively Lloyd Dawes but the striker failed to get around the keeper before Dawes himself tested keeper Luke Purnell with a thunderous drive.
The big talking point came on the hour when Gethyn Hill looked as he was auditioning for the Oscars with a spectacular dive following the faintest of touches from Harry Ransom and to the disbelief of just about everyone, ref Aji Ajibola pointed the spot. Hill, fortunate not to have been booked for simulation, rose to his feet to gave Smith no chance with an excellent but ill-deserved penalty.
Inspired by the energy of Sergio Torres Borough refused to lie down and it was a foul on the Borough skipper that landed Naby Diallo with his second yellow card and subsequent marching orders.
Charlie Harris fired over from six yards, Torres had a tremendous drive blocked and when sub Shaun Okojie was sent sprawling in the area by Jake Lee, the ref nonchalantly shook his head in response to frantic Borough appeals.
If ever VAR was needed it was at Priory Lane on Saturday.
Borough: Smith, Khinda-John (Okojie 74), Edwards, Harris (Pearson 88), Haran, Ransom, Wills, Torres, Dawes (Taylor 71), Odubade, McCallum. Unused subs: Briggs, Simpemba.
Ref: Aji Ajibola.
MoM: Sergio Torres: often in the wars, but never stopped working.