Festive fixtures are key to Town’s Ryman survival

The Town bench have a tough job on their hands
The Town bench have a tough job on their hands

Christmas fixtures are always seen as a key time of year for many clubs but for Eastbourne Town it looks crucial.

After last week’s thrilling 4-4 draw at Redhill, Town are currently second from bottom in the league table on 16 points from 21 games played.

They are one point above basement club Corinthian-Casuals and three behind Three Bridges who are third from bottom in the Ryman League division One South.

Starting on Saturday against Horsham, Tony Reid’s men face a monumental task if they are to avoid relegation back into the County League but their recent form suggest they might just have be able to achieve the unexpected.

Scoring goals has not been the problem for Town this season.

They have scored 30 goals this term - two more than Burgess Hill, who occupy a comfortable midtable position and visit the Saffrons for a noon showdown on New Year’s Day.

Conceding goals has been the main area of concern. Reid’s men have shipped 53 goals this season and have the worst goal difference in the league with -23.

Influential skipper Steve Elliot has been a huge loss to the club. The reliable centre half has missed the whole season with a knee problem but hopes to be back in January.

Much of the goal scoring credit goes to Billy Medlock. The former Borough striker has 14 goals to his name and his determination and hard graft has also added to his fair share of assists.

With a striker bang in form, a relegation scrap becomes slightly easier - if only they can reduce the costly errors in defence.

“We need to start doing the correct things,” boss Reid said. “And that’s create chances, work as a unit and stop giving silly goals away.”

Positive results over Christmas would boost Town’s chances of survival in 2014. On Saturday they welcome Horsham before a daunting Boxing Day trip to leaders Peacehaven.

Peacehaven top the table by two points from Leatherhead after 21 games and have lost just three times this season.

They have amassed 45 points and have the best goal difference in the league of 31.

Crawley Down are in town on Saturday, December 28 before their clash with Burgess Hill on New Year’s Day.

See Tuesday’s Gazette for Eastbourne Town v Horsham match report.