With 13 games gone in the Southern Combination Premier, three points is all that separates Eastbourne United and top of the table Shoreham ahead of this Saturday’s clash. Despite this, Eastbourne United boss Tobi Hutchinson is still adamant that his side aren’t fighting for the title.
“If i’m being totally honest, I don’t consider us in the hunt for the top spot. That may seem like a silly thing to say when we are sitting in third place, but until February time, I can’t think about it,” said Hutchinson.
Prior to last Saturday’s 1-0 defeat to Broadbridge Heath, United had recorded 10 consecutive wins and picked up six clean sheets along the way. Failure to pick up three points against Broadbridge Heath allowed Shoreham to pull away from the pack, however, Hutchinson said: “The result itself wasn’t necessarily disappointing, but more in the way that we conceded the goal.
“In truth, we had it coming. Yes we won ten games on the bounce, but we’ve allowed teams too many goalscoring opportunities.
“I never felt that we were keeping clean sheets because we were this ruthless and clinical side that doesn’t give anything anyway, because we do allow the opposition to have opportunities, and you just can’t afford to do that.”
Shoreham have only faced one League defeat this season, coming in a 1-0 loss to Horsham YMCA, but minus that slip up, Shoreham have left with all three points in each of their other 12 League clashes. When questioned about what can be expected from Shoreham this Saturday, Hutchinson said: “Their record speaks for itself.
“They have a team that in their manager’s own words is hand-picked to win the league. They are clear on what their objectives are and how they are going to go about it, so i’m expecting a very tough game.”
Having scored 21 goals in their last six fixtures, Eastbourne United will no doubt be in for a real test against Shoreham this coming Saturday.
But with the combination of Liam Baitup’s fine goalscoring form this season (9) and the return of Callum Hart to the side - a man who scored three goals over three games before the defeat against Broadbridge Heath - United certainly have enough firepower to hit back.
Whilst all the facts are pointing in the direction of this game being a goal fest, Hutchinson is wanting to see anything but that. “I want it to be exactly what it is, a top-of-the-table-clash,” Hutchinson added.
“In my experience of these, neither side gives much away and both sides are very hard working and clinical. If the game is like that then I know that we have made progress as we will have the appearance of a top side. This game will certainly be a measuring bar for me as to whether we really are the nice footballing side that can beat anyone, or whether we are incapable of getting the results against the best sides in the League."
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