On the bench v Aston Villa - then Brentford stars take on Eastbourne Borough

Eastbourne Borough have praised Brentford for helping them restart their season after an extended festive break.

Friday, 7th January 2022, 7:45 am
Eastbourne Borough celebrate a goal last time out at Slough - they are due to return to competitive action tomorrow v Oxford City / Picture: Andy Pelling

In a swiftly arranged friendly Danny Bloor’s Sports took on a very strong Brentford XI behind closed doors on Monday, going down to a narrow 2-1 defeat, with Leone Gravata notching a smartly taken goal.

The Bees gave game time to a large batch of players from their Premier League squad, but Borough held their own with credit - and the home staff were impressed with their visitors from 114 places below them in the football pyramid.

“We needed to play the game behind closed doors, with the importance of all Covid precautions being observed,” said CEO John Bonar.

“It was an excellent match, full of good football. The handful of officials and spectators were just the tiniest bit chilly, but the football warmed our spirits.”

Bloor said: “This was a massively useful workout for us, after the enforced break over Christmas. I am really grateful to all the staff at Brentford Football Club who gave us the chance - and the privilege - of playing such top-grade opposition.

“Brentford actually started with the entire nine players who had comprised their subs’ bench against Aston Villa the previous day, plus two more top players returning from treatment.

“The result of course was secondary, but we were level for most of the game, and we only conceded the winning goal a few minutes from time through an individual error.”

The Sports now look forward to a challenging trip to National South pace-setters Oxford City tomorrow (Sat 8th).

City went into 2022 as leaders of the division, slipping to third behind Maidstone and Ebbsfleet after they dropped points in a 2-2 New Year’s Day draw at Slough Town.

“We have great respect for Oxford City,” said Bloor. “They have an experienced squad, busy and well organised, under one of the best managers in the league, David Oldfield. We’ll be expecting a tight game.”

Bloor will probably be without centre-half Mitch Dickenson and creative wizard Chris Whelpdale, and Jake Elliott is also a doubt. The rest of the squad are fit, and the break from competitive action will have left Bloor’s men all the more eager to return to winning ways.