Eastbourne Town manager John Lambert bemoaned his sides ‘worse than schoolboy defending’ as they crashed out of the FA Cup at the hands of Southern Counties East League outfit Cray Valley.
A lacklustre Town found themselves 3-0 down within 41 minutes to their fellow step 5 counterparts.
Town did manage to pull a goal back through talisman Evan Archibald on the stroke of half-time to give the Pier Pressure faithful, (who once again made the long journey in impressive numbers) something to hold onto.
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A Sam Cole penalty made the score 3-2 to set up a grandstand finish but Town had given themselves too much to do and couldn’t find the all-important equaliser.
“School boys wouldn’t have given away the goals we gave them”, said a dejected Lambert.
“We had about 80% possession in the second half and when we scored the penalty I thought we at least had a chance of earning the replay back at the Saffrons, but you can’t give any team a 3-0 lead because it just makes it impossible.
“So, we have tried to sort that out this week on the training pitch and we will see what we can do but that first half performance is not what I expect from an Eastbourne Town side.
“It is especially disappointing because the FA Cup is the money competition that can help you out and set you up for the rest of the season financially if you can make it through a few rounds.
“They were there for the taking, we have played against and beaten better teams than them in the last couple of years and so we have let ourselves down badly.”
Lambert also voiced his concerns over a growing injury list that is close to double figures.
Forwards Aaron Capon, Jason Taylor, Matt Fear and Sam Carrington are all ruled out of at least the next two games, as are defenders Andy Henson and Jack Turner and first choice goalkeeper Greg Nessling.
“We have probably got about eight out injured at the moment and it is really starting to take its strain on the team”, explained Lambert.
“The worst part is, most of them look like longer term injuries which is a massive worry.”
Next up for Town is trips to Shoreham tomorrow (Saturday, 3pm) and newly promoted Lingfield on Tuesday evening.
“We now have two massive away games, both against physical sides that you probably don’t want to play against when you are having injury troubles.
“But we have to just get on with it and hope to get a few of them back over the next couple of weeks.”