By Ken McEwan
National League South leaders Dartford were made to fight every inch of the way before Borough succumbed to their 11th home defeat of the season before a 700 plus crowd at Priory Lane on Saturday.
Once again it was a case of reflecting on what might have been as Jamie Howell’s men matched their high-riding opponents in so many departments only to be lacking when it came to that final telling ball.
During the opening half an hour any neutral observer watching the teams for the first time could have been forgiven for thinking it was Borough at the top end of the table.
Will Hendon and Gavin McCallum combined superbly to send Sergio Torres away, but his finish was just too high and then McCallum did excellently on the left only for his cross to be marginally too high for Lloyd Dawes to connect.
During what was a torrid opening spell for the visitors, Dartford’s Lee Noble committed three fouls, the third a bad one on Torres, but somehow escaped a yellow card.
Had justice been done, Noble’s second-half yellow would have been red.
But in all spheres of football it often seems the big decisions go against the lower teams and it was ironic that Noble should play a major part in the only goal of the game in the 33rd minute, providing a superb cross from the right for Danny Mills to convert from six yards.
Borough came out in the second half refusing to lie down and within a minute of the resumption Yemi Odubade, on for McCallum, was close to an equaliser as his audacious lob dropped tantalisingly onto the roof of the net.
At the other end, Alfie Pavey missed a great chance to double the Darts’ advantage when his shot into the ground bounced way over the bar following a Danny Mills free-kick.
But on chances alone, Borough should have won handsomely. Driven on by the non-stop Torres, surely a firm favourite for player of the year, the hosts continually opened up the Darts defence only to lack that lethal final touch.
Dawes and Odubade were off-target when well placed, Charlie Harris was also wide of the mark while a Jamie Taylor effort cleared the stand.
In the final desperate effort to snatch a point, keeper Mark Smith, who earlier made a great save to keep Borough in the game, joined the home attack.
But it was all to no avail as The Sports learned, not for the first time this season, that to win games you must find the back of the net.
Eastbourne Borough: Smith Pickering, Hendon, Taylor, Simpemba, Haran, Wills, Torres. Okojie (Harris 66), Dawes, McCallum (Odubade 45). Unused subs: Khinda-John, Pearson, Platt.
Referee: Alex Blake.
Mom: Sergio Torres: a number of Borough candidates, but Torres was in a class of his own.