After a recent upturn in fortunes, Eastbourne United manager Paul Daubeney locked his team in the dressing room for some hard-hitting hair-dryer treatment on Saturday, questioning the attitude of his players as they succumbed to derby defeat.
United found themselves 1-0 down inside 60 seconds with some sloppy defending. The ball kindly fell to Jamie Salvidge who only needed one touch to knock the ball in front of him and finish it low and hard from the edge of the box.
Paul Daubeney said, “We sat too deep and let them come on to us. We were still in the changing room for the first goal.”
United’s Siao Blackwood then missed an opportunity to equalise almost instantly, when the home team used the wind to their advantage and Blackwood raced through one-on-one only to see Town’s keeper Russell Tanner deny the striker with an agile save.
Playing in conditions that were more suited to wind surfing, football was not an easy task.
Referee Leigh Crowhurst would then further disrupt play with an injury that forced a lengthy break to the derby inside 10 minutes.
The match struggled to reconvene and pick up any pace with further injuries interrupting play for the rest of the half.
The Stringers pair Sam Schaaf and Tristan Jarvis looked dangerous in the final third, whilst Ashley Jarvis and Ashley John-Baptiste were putting in tenacious displays in midfield for Town and United respectively.
Hailsham finished the first half the happier and were determined to continue the same in the second, which was a cause of disappointment for Daubeney. He said, “We need to be quicker. At 1-0 down we were strolling to take free-kicks and throw-ins.”
The second half followed a similar pattern to the first, with Town looking relaxed in third gear and United struggling to get out of their own half with the wind now against them.
Luke Denton supplied Schaaf with a great cross, whose header brought the best out of Eastbourne’s keeper Grant Fitzgerald before the hour mark.
The away side took their foot off the pedal as manager Kenny McCreadie admitted,
“We played better in the first than we did in the second, but the boys stuck to their guns and kept going and we were rewarded for it.”
With five minutes to go, the Stringers got their reward and sealed the three points and their third win on the spin in the league.
Craig Ottley’s precise one-two with Steve Early down the left wing allowed Ottley to drill the ball low and hard into the far corner in very much Gareth Bale fashion, giving the keeper no chance.
A pleased McCreadie added, “I’m very happy with the win. I thought we deserved it and took the game to them. If you keep a clean sheet in a derby, then you always have a chance of winning.”
However, Daubeney will feel aggrieved knowing his players are capable of better. He said, “They’re good players and have recently been playing well. But we need to move the ball quicker after what was an uneventful performance.”
United: Fitzgerald 7, Wilson 6, Peters 6, Russell 6, Smart 7, Stracey 7, Barrett 6, John-Baptiste 7, Robson 6 (Bunn) Blackwood 7, Bucket 6.
Hailsham Town: Tanner 6, Lewis 6, Ottley 7, Early 8, Richardson 7, Catt 6 (Stevens) Denton 7, A Jarvis 8, Salvidge 7, Schaaf 7 (Skan), T Jarvis 7 (French).
Referee: Leigh Crowhurst (replaced with Robin Parks)
MOM: Ashley Jarvis