A win is a win was caretaker boss Ben Austin’s frank assessment of their narrow Sussex Senior Cup victory at the Dripping Pan on Wednesday night.
Ben Waton’s injury-time winner hauled Eastbourne Borough into the semi-final but it wasn’t progression that pleased Austin, it was experiencing that winning feeling once again.
“Perhaps it was not pretty to watch for the people who turned out tonight but it was vital we got this win.” Austin said after the game.
“We spoke about the importance of getting the win. We said before the game that hook or by crook we needed to get a win on the board and get that feeling back of what it is like to win a game of football.”
The victory could have arrived at a cost however. Player manager and captain Austin limped off on 30 minutes having caught his studs in the ground and wrenching his knee ligaments.
Striker Gary Hart also limped off on the hour and Matt Crabb required lengthy treatment after he was clattered late in the second half by Lewes keeper Pavel Szelemej.
The first half remained goaless despite both sides creating chances. Crabb came the closest for Boro when he arrowed a shot wide after Hart’s flick while the lively Michael Malcolm hit the post with a firm header from Malvin Kamara’s cross.
Borough took the lead on 50 minutes when Lewes ‘keeper Szelemej bowled the ball straight to Crabb and the winger returned it with interest to fire into the open goal from 35 yards.
Lewes hit straight back when Masters rushed off his line and took out out the skilful Chritian Nanetti. Substitute Paul Booth made no mistake from the spot.
Austin’s side rallied and looked the stronger team as the game entered the final stages.
Deep in injury time Sam Cole was half cleared and Watson finished well and milked the rapturous applause from the Borough faithful in the stands.
The new manager, whoever that maybe, will arrive to find his team in the semi-final and a chance to progress to the Amex Stadium final.
LEWES: Szelemej, Kamara, Ciardina, Somner, Robinson, Hustwich, Howell, Harding, Malcolm, Draycott, Nanetti.
Borough: Masters 5, Baker 8, Cole 7, Charman 6, Austin 6 (Smart 8), Rowe 6, Brinkhurst 7, Johnson 7, Watson 8, Hart 6 (Rook 7), Crabb 7
MOM: Watson - work rate and winning goal
Referee: Dean Treleaven