If Eastbourne Borough ever needed VAR, this was the time

Eastbourne Borough players and supporters left Saturday’s game at Priory Lane firmly believing they should have had a second-half penalty and it was of little consolation that the referee afterwards appeared to agree.

Sunday, 2nd February 2020, 6:13 pm
Updated Monday, 3rd February 2020, 11:59 am
Franklin Domi takes the congratulations after his debut goal for Borough (credit Lydia Redman)

Borough boss Danny Bloor said, “Tom Bishop (the referee) is a nice guy and he spoke to me afterwards to apologise. I think he feels he’s made a mistake. It was manly of him but that doesn’t help a side wanting to win a game of football.”

A sweeping Borough move ended with Jake Skinner sent sprawling in the area by skipper Connor Essam but the ref waved away demands for a penalty.

If ever VAR needed, it was at that moment.

Borough have become the undisputed draw specialists of the National League South having shared the points more than any other team in the division.

At the end of it all, a draw was probably a fair result between two well-matched sides with Bloor’s men remaining undefeated in 2020.

“Of course we want to win, but this was another hard-earned point” added Bloor.”I feel proud of what these boys are giving us at the moment. At the start of the season, nobody here had ever heard of most of them but they couldn’t be giving me more.

"We didn’t play great football but I felt we could have nicked it at the end, particularly with that unbelievable penalty decision.”

One of the big successes on Saturday was Franklin Domi, on loan from Queen’s Park Rangers, who worked hard throughout and crowned his debut with a spectacular goal from 25 yards. His services were secured through QPR technical director Chris Ramsey who played for Brighton in the 1983 cup final and is an old friend of Bloor’s.

In contrast, Borough found themselves a goal down after just five minutes when the softest of volleys from Isaac Galliford somehow found its way past an unsighted Daniel Grimstead following James Dobson’s long throw which was only partially cleared.

But The Sports these days do not believe in throwing in the towel and Domi’s sizzling 25- yarder from the left in the 17th minute took a deflection before hitting the top corner of the net.

The goal inspired the hosts and Charlie Walker’s promising run required the attention of four defenders before possession was lost to the visitors.

At 33 minutes there was action of the wrong type off the field as a conversation between the referee and coaches from both dugouts ended with an announcement that anyone found misbehaving would be ejected from the ground by the stewards. Borough fans were not thought to have been involved.

There was even more dismal injury news for Borough as defender Tobi Adebayo-Rowling limped off leaving the hosts desperately short of recognised defenders.

With the strong wind playing all sorts of tricks both sets of players provided a battle royal in the second half and chances went begging at each end with keeper Franco Ravizzoli pulling off a couple of fine saves.

Greg Luer went close when his shot rebounded off the woodwork but at the end of it all the big talking point was the penalty that wasn’t which almost certainly denied The Sports a much-needed home win.

But as Danny Bloor pointed out afterwards, another draw means another point – and Borough have had plenty of those!

Borough: Ravizzoli, Adebayo (Gharbaoui 17), Domi, Wills, James, Luer, Skinner, Walker, Ferry, Hanson (Bombelenga 53), Gayle. Unused subs: Gbolahan, Blackmore, Earl.

MoM: Franklin Domi – A spectacular goal and a fine game on his debut.

Referee: Tom Bishop. Att: 474