By Kevin Anderson
A dramatic stoppage-time equaliser by Sergio Torres earned Eastbourne Borough a 2-2 draw at high-flying St Albans on Saturday, rescuing a game that had almost slipped from their grasp at half-time.
Torres struck from close range after persistent, squeezing pressure from the Sports, to cap a superb come-back. The home side had the better of the first half and finally breached the Borough defences right on half-time with two goals in a minute. But Yemi Odubade pulled a goal back from the penalty spot six minutes after the break, and super Sergio capped a terrific team performance.
City had seen more of the ball in the first 45 minutes, and had chances to open the scoring, but they found Sports keeper Bailey Vose in outstanding form, pulling off impossible saves from Sam Merson, Shaun Lucien and Tom Bender. With Ian Simpemba a massive figure at the heart of the defence, Borough had withstood waves of home attacks, and they had chances of their own through Torres and Odubade.
Then on 45 minutes Tom Gardiner rose highest to head home a right-wing corner and put the Saints ahead. A 0-1 scoreline was disappointing but probably manageable, but the minute of madness saw Borough concede again in stoppage time, Dale Banton racing through and shooting in off the post for 2-0.
Whatever happened behind the dressing room door, the Sports came out with fire in their hearts and their boots. Playing down the Clarence Park slope, they had already created two good chances before, on 51 minutes, Odubade sped clear on goal and was felled by Bender’s mistimed tackle. No question about the penalty and no mistake from Yemi as he confidently drilled in the spot kick.
A palpitating second half then saw Borough swarming all over City, but not quite levelling the scores. Odubade charged down the keeper but just ran ouit of angle and saw his effort cleared, the lively Harley Willard had a shot charged down, and even defender Kiran Khinda-John joined in with a fizzing low drive that just missed the far post.
The St Albans’ defence was looking about as stable as a Jenga tower with Borough prising out brick after brick. But when Yemi, played in by Jamie Taylor, took too long with a huge goal at his mercy and was tackled, it seemed the Sports would be climbing on the coach pointless.
Then, after Willard’s long cross was squeezed back across goal by substitute Nat Pinney, Torres – a man who never believes the cause is lost – clipped the ball in from inside the goal area to secure a deserved point – and extend the current unbeaten run to eight games.