QPR and AFC Wimbledon keep Eastbourne Borough busy after league shutdown
Not exactly business as usual – but a busy few days at Priory Lane. With no National South fixtures being played, the Borough first team have hosted two Football League clubs this week.
On Saturday, a high-octane Queens Park Rangers side edged an entertaining contest 3-1, and then on Tuesday night the Sports fought back from 0-2 down against AFC Wimbledon, to snatch a breathless 2-2 draw.
The Borough faithful are still excluded, but there were healthy viewing figures for the club’s live streaming of both games. Still second best, of course, to watching the action in person – but a pretty good second best.
A bright and pin-sharp Saturday afternoon saw QPR – with Borough loanee Kai Innocent back in a blue hooped shirt for the day – take an early lead from a direct free-kick. But on the stroke of half-time the home side equalised, Dean Cox hitting the net from close range after a superb sweeping team move.
With multiple substitutions after half-time, Rangers pounced twice with ruthless finishes, but Borough stayed in the game and manager Danny Bloor will have been delighted with his team’s showing.
Then on a chillier Tuesday evening, the Lane welcomed League One AFC Wimbledon, who fielded a mix of fringe first-teamers and under-23s – and once again we saw a contest at least as keen as a National South game, and possibly 50 per cent quicker.
The Wombles led 1-0 at half-time, and looked comfortable as they doubled their lead soon after the break. But Borough’s best was yet to come. Attacking relentlessly towards the Mick Green End, they carved out move after move, and were denied only by some fine goalkeeping and some emergency AFC defending.
Denied, that is, until that man Cox struck again. The former Albion and Orient attacker is still as quick – and quick-thinking – as ever, and on 81 minutes his speed of brain and boot flashed into action.
Looking quickly up from 30 yards out, and to the right of goal, Cox had a couple of tame and simple passes available. Instead, he spotted just enough space and angle to try an outrageous effort on goal. Straight as an arrow, but then dipping just enough, his shot beat the keeper all ends up and found the top left corner of the net. It was quite literally one of Priory Lane’s greatest ever goals.
The drama was not over. As the Sports pressed for an honourable draw, the clock was within seconds of 90 minutes when Charlie Lambert popped in the equaliser at the back post after dazzling work and a lethal right wing cross by - needless to say - that man Cox.
No such thing as a friendly? Just ask Dean Cox..