After a long and often tortuous wait, Eastbourne Borough finally rewarded their supporters with a home victory at Priory Lane on Saturday (writes Ken McEwan).
Not since the visit of Oxford City on September 21 had Jamie Howell’s men secured maximum points on home 3G.
It was just a shame that fewer than 400 fans were there to watch the hosts tear their opponents apart with a pulsating display of attacking football that deservedly saw them three goals to the good at the interval.
Another spectacular strike by Lloyd Dawes was the highlight and what a signing the former Worthing man is proving to be.
A recent previous goal was the culmination of a 70-yard run; on Saturday it was a 20-yard blockbuster which almost burst the top corner of the net.
For boss Howell, the result brought relief more than anything else. “I would have taken a scrappy 1-0 win.” he admitted afterwards. “But it was the fact that we played really well that pleased me. However, we will not get too carried away; there is still a lot of work to be done.
“The third goal was a really great strike by Lloyd Dawes and it gave us the belief that we were going to win.”
While Dawes was the livewire who continually tormented the Hungerford defence, Gavin McCallum, Yemi Odubade and James Haran also produced stand-out performances.
The visitors were under pressure from the start and only six minutes had gone when their central defender Matt Williams was shown a yellow card for hauling down Dawes a couple of yards outside the area.
Borough took the lead in the 11th minute when Odubade’s shot took a deflection on the way into the back of the net following a fine cross by Charlie Harris.
The lead was doubled in the 27th minute when a Harris free-kick was not cleared by a hesitant defence and McCallum was able to bundle the ball into the net.
An injured Will Hendon was replaced by Ian Simpemba, but there was now no holding a rampant Borough and in the 42nd minute, after Odubade’s shot had only been partially cleared, Dawes’ rocket 20-yarder left home supporters in dreamland as they enjoyed their half-time cuppa.
Of course, it could not last. Nobody in their right mind could have expected a repeat of the unforgettable first half feast..
McCallum’s superb glancing header from a Kane Wills’ corner made it 4-0 in the 54th minute and young Hungerford sub Alex Fragata netted a consolation goal from close range in the 76th.
A rejuvenated Odubade was only inches away from repeating the Dawes strike while at the other end, home keeper Mark Smith was finally called on to make a fine last-minute save.
But even at the start of the second half, it was really all over bar the shouting.
While this magnificent win has not succeeded in sending Borough soaring up the table, it will surely silence the pessimists who have been predicting Ryman League football at Priory Lane next season.
While Borough have finally displayed the capabilities we knew they possessed; they must now aim for a degree of consistency that will hopefully guide them towards a middle-of-the-table finish.
Borough: Smith, Hendon (Simpemba 30), Edwards (Okojie 60), Harris, Haran, Ransom, Wills, Torres, Dawes (Taylor 64), Odubade, McCallum. Subs not used: Johnson, Pearson.
Referee: David Spain.
MoM: Lloyd Dawes: Loads of hard work and a spectacular strike packed into 60 eventful minutes.