Final day defeat for Eastbourne Borough but interesting times ahead

Eastbourne Borough's last game of the season against Concord Rangers (Photo by Jon Rigby) SUS-190429-121226008
Eastbourne Borough's last game of the season against Concord Rangers (Photo by Jon Rigby) SUS-190429-121226008

By Ken McEwan

If Eastbourne Borough fans thought their team had finally broken the habit of a season with the previous week’s 6-0 drubbing of Dartford, they were somewhat disappointed.

Saturday at Priory Lane bore hallmarks of eight struggling months – plenty of fine football and loads of promise but little to show.

With Borough safe from relegation and Concord brought down to earth by the news their ground was not up to standard should they be eligible for promotion, this match had little riding on it from the start.

Yet Borough could not be faulted for effort. Playing into a galeforce wind they were two goals down at half-time, but when sub Josh Bingham pulled one back early in the second half, there seemed every hope of a home point at the very least.

But a combination of desperate defending from the visitors and less than clinical finishing saw The Sports emerge pointless for the 20th time this season – and the ninth time at home.

Borough started in promising fashion but they suffered a blow in the 16th minute when Kristian Campbell hobbled off and was replaced by Bingham.

Mark McGhee’s men did their best to break the deadlock with Harry Ransom – in his last game for Borough before his move to Millwall – being denied by a fine save from the burly Sam Beasant.

But Borough were shellshocked as the Beachboys scored twice within a minute. The opening goal came in the 37th minute when Connor Essam squeezed the ball home after loanee keeper Sam Howes had just failed to reach Danny Green’s cross from the left.

Before the host team had time to catch their breath, Joan Luque chased a wind-assisted long punt from Beasant to slot past the advancing Howes.

With the fierce wind appearing to have dropped somewhat for the second half, Borough pulled one back in the 37th minute, Bingham scoring from close range following a fine run and cross from Walker. It looked odds on a Borough equaliser now and the lively Walker lifted hopes as he left three defenders for dead only to fire wide.

It was all Borough, a Mike West blockbuster was deflected wide, Walker was again denied by the keeper, Sergio Torres was just too high after good work by young sub Nico Cotton. Even with keeper Sam Howes joining the attack for the last few minutes the elusive goal would not come. Despite this defeat Borough at least had the consolation of knowing they will be playing in National League South next season. Under what manager, with what players we do not know. It promises to be an interesting summer!

Before the game, Tobi Adebayo-Rowling was presented with the award for supporters’ choice of player of the year

Borough: Howes, Adebayo-Rowling, Campbell (Bingham (16), Wills, Jordan, Ransom, West, Torres, Walker, Hamilton (Cotton 53), Martin.

Referee: Tom Bishop.

MoM: Charlie Walker: full of endeavour

Att: 545