Frustrating Truro stalemate for Eastbourne Borough

Sam Beale
Sam Beale

ONE point may be better than none, but three were definitely there for the taking at a windy Priory Lane on Saturday.

Both sides went into the game on the back of heavy defeats, City having been hit for six by Oxford and Borough conceding four at Havant, so a clean sheet would have brought some relief to both managers.

But after a dominant second half, Borough walked off reflecting on missed chances and a general lack of composure in front of goal.

Certainly nobody will have been more frustrated that the outstanding Nat Pinney who rattled the crossbar and had a ‘goal’ disallowed.

Pinney has established himself as a firm Priory Lane favourite and for the second home match running his menace and workrate earned him a deserved man-of-the-match accolade.

At the other end, Lewis Carey was far from over-worked although a rare first half mishandling slip could have had disastrous consequences before the ball was finally scrambled away.

A fourth clean sheet, however, was due in no small measure to another ultra-solid display at the back by skipper Ian Simpemba.

Both sides struggled to find their rhythm in a scrappy opening 45 minutes. Two free-kicks into the box taken by Craig Stone were punched away by keeper Martin Rice, the first falling to the feet of Elliott Romain who sliced the best chance of the half high and wide.

Pinney was body-checked by Aaron Pugh in a threatening burst and then saw a ferocious drive fizz past the post as Borough strove to break the deadlock.

There were chances at both ends during a livelier second half with Pinney volleying against the bar at one end and Rob Farkins firing Aaron Dawson’s low corner over the top at the other.

Gavin McCallum had a gilt-edged opportunity to secure the points for when he volleyed Stone’s cross straight at Rice from six yards before Pinney thought he had headed the winner only for the celebrations to be cut short by an assistant’s flag.

The stage seemed set for Darren Lok to come on and snatch what would have been a deserved winner, but he was well marked during his 20-minute appearance.

Instead, it was City sub Les Afful who made an immediate impact with a couple of runs that brought panic to the home defence.

Boss Tommy Widdrington’s final throw of the dice was to bring on Kieran Khinda-John as a striker intended to upset the City rearguard during the remaining four minutes of stoppage time.

It could have proved a master-stroke, but this was a day ruled by frustration.

For Borough know if they are to be challenging for better things come the end of the season, these are the games that need to be won.

‘A bit of a non-event’ was one regular Borough fan’s comment as he left the ground. And few among the 532 spectators could really disagree.

Widdrington’s men are ninth in the league table and have gained 13 points from their first eight matches.

Bath City lead the way at the top on 20 points with Ebbsfleet close behind in second on 19 points from seven matches. Next up for Borough is an away trip to lowly Basingstoke Town. Basingstoke are one of three teams on four points at the bottom of the table.

Eastbourne: Carey, Stone, Beale, Evans, Simpemba, Watts, McCallum (Lok 71), Collier (Baptiste 65), Romain, Pinney, Haysman (Khinda-John 90). Unused subs: Street, Nehemie,

Truro: Rice, White, Riley-Lowe, Ash, Farkins, Pugh, Davidson, Green, Duff (Afful 78), Vassell (Wright 69), Cook (Yeoman 87). Unused subs: Krac, Brett.

Mom: Nat Pinney: high workrate and unlucky not to score.

Referee: Gary Parsons.

Att: 532