Smith strikes as Borough claim that all-important point in Hayes

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Striker Jonte Smith scored his first goal for Eastbourne Borough as they recorded a 1-1 draw at Hayes and Yeading and confirmed Blue Square South football for next season.

With two games remaining, Borough are 16th in the table on 46 points from their 39 matches.Truro, Billericay and AFC Hornchurch occupy the bottom three places, with third from bottom Hornchurch on 41 points from 40 games - Hornchurch went down 3-1 to Sutton United.

In a very open first half both sides created goalscoring chances.

Jonte Smith, on-loan from Crawley Town, claimed the first goal of the game and his first for his club on 12 minutes.

Smith engineered some space for himself in the box and was on hand to tap in Geores Ehui’s low cross.

Against Boreham Wood last Tuesday Boro’s lead last just one minute.

This time they fared slightly better and held out for six minutes before Hayes levelled.

Tom Collins crossed low into the box and Kudus Oyenuga was on hand to tap into Danny Potter’s goal.

Jamie Smith fired over for Borough from the edge of the box and Charlie Gorman had an effort that whistled just the wrong side of the post.

Hayes were slightly better in the second half but Borough remained organised and difficult to break through.

Widdrington threw on Elliott Charles and Frankie Raymond but neither had the desired impact and could swing the game back in their favour.

The last roll of the dice was to bring on Darren Lok on 70 minutes.

Lok, so often Borough’s go-to-guy from the bench this season, could not sneak a late winner but the hard-earned point will see Borough compete in the Blue Square South next season.

On Tuesday they travel to Tonbridge Angles who were thrashed 4-1 in Eastleigh earlier today.

Widdrington said, “We got the point we needed but I have said all along I never saw this as a relegation battle.

“I have been working towards a target and with two games remaining we can still reach that.

“Once again the players put in a tremendous shift today as they have done for each game in the last few weeks.

“Perhaps our performance was a touch leggy after all the efforts recently. I changed it around a bit because of that but overall a draw was probably the right result.”

Of Jonte Smith Widdrington added, “I was pleased for the lad but he’s a goalscorer and that’s what he does.

He has had to be patient lately. He did well in his first couple of games and perhaps could have scored in each of those.

“He was then hit with a chest infection and had to bide his time. He did well today and if we get the right balls into him he will score.”

Borough: Potter, Adelsbury, Cole, Hart, Rowe, Uddin, Ehui (Raymond 56), Aldred, Jonte Smith, Gorman (Charles 61), Jamie Smith (Darren Lok 70)

ATT: 197

See Tuesday’s Gazette for full match report, reaction and pictures.