By Ken McEwan
Eastbourne Borough gave Oxford City a lesson in finishing as they climbed to ninth place in National League South, just a point shy of the play-off positions, with a hard-earned 2-0 win over an impressive Oxford City side at Priory Lane on Saturday.
Blistering strikes from man-of-the-match Sergio Torres and Yemi Odubade sealed the points for Borough, although Odubade’s day was spoilt when he was stretchered off with a pulled groin muscle mid-way through the second half.
It was City who looked the most impressive early on, tormented by the skills of the tricky Rob Sinclair who was right out of luck when he rattled the crossbar from 20 yards in the sixth minute.
It was against the run of play when The Sports took the lead in the 16th, Odubade’s angled drive from the right taking a slight deflection from Zac McEachran en route to the roof of the net.
The goal seemed to settle Jamie Howell’s men who started to play some attractive football, but it was City who continued to create the chances, a superb last-gasp challenge from Ian Simpemba denying Matt Paterson before the same player saw another effort well saved by the sprawling Bailey Vose.
Odubade went close to doubling the hosts’ advantage, while at the other end it needed goal-line clearances, first from Simpemba and then from Matt Drage to keep their fragile first half lead intact.
The second half started much the same as the first with City calling the tune, but their woeful finishing wasted much good work.
Torres, whose midfield play was excellent throughout, eased the pressure with a tremendous effort. After a one-two with Jamie Taylor, his rocket from the right sizzled into the far corner of the net.
Borough suffered a major blow in the 65th minute when Odubade’s game ended in agony and he was replaced by Nat Pinney.
But still Oxford refused to lie down and Vose made a tremendous reflex save to keep out Ezra Forde’s header after a fine run and cross by former Borough favourite Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Borough should have had a third in stoppage time when Pinney got away on the right but his angled effort shaved the far post.
While the Sports will be more than happy with their fifth league win of the season, there will be worries over the fitness of Odubade who looked so impressive before getting injured but who can now expect to be no more than a spectator at Saturday’s big FA Cup tie against Bognor Regis.
Borough Vose 8, Khinda-John 7, McCallum 6, Wills 7, Simpemba 7, Drage 7, Willard 7, Torres 9, Odubade 8 (Pinney 63min 6), Taylor 7 (Ranson 86), Harris 6 (Worrell 72), Unused subs: Redwood, Street,.
Ref: Alex Blake. Att: 642.
MoM: Sergio Torres – a great goal and virtually an unblemished midfield performance.