FA Cup agony as Slough Town are too strong for Eastbourne Borough

Jamie Howell
Jamie Howell

Jamie Howell was left lamenting a wonder strike and more ‘naive’ defending as Eastbourne Borough crashed out to Slough Town in the FA Cup at Priory Lane last Saturday.

“Sometimes you have to give credit to the opponents,” said a disappointed Howell moments after the match. “It was a great strike. I have asked Mark (Smith) to play high and a goal like that will happen once in a blue moon but it happened today. I wasn’t Mark’s fault and if anybody is to blame it’s me as I asked Mark to play a highline.

“We didn’t get back into the game. They had chances and took them, we had chances and we didn’t.

“We are naive at times I’m getting bored of saying it and we have to improve. They were streetwise and they did what they needed to do. Full credit to them but we had some chances to score. I was pleased with our effort and work rate but it wasn’t enough.”

By Ken McEwan

Eastbourne Borough’s hopes of a money-spinning entry into the first round proper of the FA Cup were shattered at the hands of a powerful Slough Town side before a crowd of over 800 at Priory Lane on Saturday.

When Borough pulled a goal back after going two behind, there was always a chance of a replay.

But at the end of the day, the visitors deserved to go through. They were big, bold and altogether stronger than The Sports. Their height enabled them to win most of the high balls and there also seemed that much more urgency about their play.

The visitors went in front in the sixth minute with a really incredible goal. Ben Harris gained possession just inside his own half, spotted Mark Smith out of his goal and proceeded to send a long, dipping ball over the disbelieving keeper and into the net.

Borough hit back and looked capable of an equaliser. Trevor Cox’s free-kick 20 yards out took a deflection and fortunately for Slough ended up in the keeper’s hands and minutes later visiting keeper Jack Turner had to race out to clear off the foot of Alfie Rutherford.

ut the Borough loanee should have levelled in the 33rd minute when he latched on to a poor backpass only to slot the ball past the advancing keeper and wide of the post.

Ryan Hall should also have done better when he scooped the ball over from inside the area

The Sports started the second half desperate to level the scores but instead found themselves two down in the 58th minute with James Dobson firing a tremendous 25-yard low angled strike which fizzed across Smith and inside the far post.

It should certainly have been 3-0 when a determined burst through the Borough defence left Louie Soares with only Smith to beat but he scuffed his shot and home fans breathed again.

That miss might well have proved costly for the visitors as a superb Borough move ended with Kane Will’s fine pass being immaculately finished by Rutherford in the 70th minute.

The momentum was now with Borough and if Rutherford had only been able to control Smith’s long clearance which would have left him with only the Slough keeper to beat, fortunes might well have swung in the opposite direction.

But overall, Slough never really lost control, some strange Borough substitutions failing to help the cause.

Coach Ian Simpemba replaced Ryan Hall, Lloyd Dawes, back after injury, went on for Charlie Walker and, the biggest surprise of all, Michael West took the place of MoM Sergio Torres.

Simpemba’s only contribution was to get booked, Dawes rarely touched the ball and West was never going to do better than Torres who was the sponsors’ (and most fans’) choice of man of the match.

It was also hard to fathom why Yemi Odubade, who has often been so effective coming off the bench in recent games, was ignored.

But whoever was on the field it was never going to be easy against a Slough team who could easily surprise one of the bigger fish in the next round.

Borough: Smith, Adebayo-Rowling, Gardiner, Ransom, Campbell, Cox, Torres (West 82). Wills, Hall (Simpemba (88) Walker (Dawes 62)), Rutherford. Unused subs: Odubade, Martin, Briggs, Shaw.

Slough: Turner, Jackman, Wells, Hollis, Nisbet, L. Togwell, Dobson, S. Togwell, B. Harris, (Flood 56), Stevens (Davis 82), Soares (Harris 76). Unused subs: Fraser, Dunn, Phillips, Williams.

Referee Tom Bishop. Att: 802. MoM: Sergio Torres: another non-stop performance until taken off.