Nathaniel Pinney’s free-kick settled a close affair as Eastbourne Borough edged out League One Crawley Town in a friendly at Priory Lane on Tuesday night.
Pinney threatened with the first chance of the game as he forced Crawley keeper Brian Jensen to tip over his cross-shot in the ninth minute.
The visitors replied with a chance of their own just three minutes later as Jimmy Smith’s free-kick was struck over by Emmet O’Connor.
O’Connor saw another go over before Simon Johnson breached the defence before firing high, and Pinney cut inside to force a smart stop from Jensen.
Borough broke the deadlock six minutes after the interval. After Cecil Gee’s foot was too high, Pinney stepped up to take the kick quickly with permission from the referee, and placed the ball into an empty net.
There was some confusion over the goal being allowed as the Cralwey wall wasn’t even set.
But Jensen was distinctly non-plussed and Johnson nearly doubled the advantage just four minutes later with a strike from all of 25 yards that came back off the post.
Crawley saw a penalty appeal waved away after Joe Walsh’s hot appeared to hit a hand before Blair Anderson went through on goal and skied his effort with just Lewis Carey to beat.
The visitors continued to apply the pressure but Carey saved Jimmy Smith’s effort smartly and Dean Morgan headed Smith’s cross just wide.
But Borough held out to claim a morale-boosting victory and much needed 90 minutes ahead of next week’s Vanarama South clash with Gosport Borough.
Borough: Carey, Watts, Beale, Haysman, Simpemba, Khinda-John, Worrall (Evans), Aldred, Pinney, Johnson, Lok. Not Used: Sinclair
Crawley: Jensen, Bawling, Walsh, Gee, Richefond, Isaacs, Anderson, O’Connor, Trialist, Morgan