FORTUNES can change quickly in football and on Saturday it was Borough boss Tommy Widdrington’s turn to come down to earth with a bang as he watched his team suffer their second defeat in five days at the hands of a powerful and well organised Hemel side.
Before the game the cheers of the 733 strong crowd had echoed around Priory Lane as Widdrington deservedly accepted the Vanarama South August manager of the month award from retiring Borough chairman Len Smith.
A couple of hours later it was a different story as the home men trundled off with the Borough boss no doubt contemplating a few harsh words to his players as the form of those opening six unbeaten games appeared completely to have deserted them.
As the post-match inquest went on, newly appointed assistant manager Jay Lovett accepted that the hoped-for comeback following the Monday evening defeat at Boreham Wood simply hadn’t materialised. “It was one of those days when we never really got started,” he said. “You always want to come back with a positive response after a defeat, but now we have to concentrate on next week.
“Hemel Hempstead are a big, powerful side and all we can do now is hopefully try and put things right. I am not saying we are going to win the league, but we are aiming high.
“I know we are a good side and we must come back from this sooner rather than later.”
The game got off to an eventful start with Kyle Connolly (Hemel) and Darren Lok (Borough) yellow carded within the first quarter of an hour.
It could even have been worse for the hosts when Lok, chasing a 50-50 ball in the 18th minute, seemed to follow through on keeper Laurie Walker, but the home fans breathed a sigh of relief as ref Ian Cooper kept his red card in his pocket.
The breakthrough came in the 36th minute when Hemel went ahead with a picture goal. Parkes put James Simmonds away on the right and the pull-back was perfect for Oliver Hawkins to volley into the top corner of he net from just inside the area. With Lok replaced at half-time by Sam Beale and Simon Johnson given more of a central attacking role, Borough looked livelier after the interval and Gavin McCallum sent keeper Walker sprawling with Borough’s best effort of the game.
But it was Hemel who went two up on the hour. A superb passing movement left James Simmonds free on the left, and he slipped the ball to James Potton who was left with a simple tap-in.
The introduction of Elliott Charles injected more life into the Borough attack and the burly striker had a couple of efforts that were too high, while McCallum’s free-kick fizzed inches past the post.
But Borough could have few complaints about this setback. Hemel looked hungrier for the points and deserved their third win on the road this season.
For the home team it was perhaps another reality check as they slipped out of the play-off places But there is plenty of time to put things right although, as Jay Lovett pointed out, it needs to be sooner rather than later.
Eastbourne: Carey, Khinda-John, Aldred, Foot (Charles 62), Simpemba, Watts, McCallum, Sinclair (Bown 77), Pacquette, Johnson, Lok (Beale 45) Unused subs: Lovett, Worrall.
Hemel Hempstead: Walker, Asafu-Adjaye , Connolly, Parkes, Daly, Johnson, Talbot, Thorne, Potton (Allen 80), Simmonds (Mackay 83), Hawkins, (Tooney 71). Unused subs Murphy, Diarra.
Ref: Ian Cooper,
MoM: Gavin McCallum: never gave up the fight.