Eastbourne Town’s wait for their first win of the season is over after victory against Kent outfit Corinthian, in the FA Cup on Saturday.
It’s been a long time coming for Town after a poor start to the league season, which has seen them record only one point, scoring just one goal in the process.
They were made to work though, for what was a hard-fought victory and had to survive two late penalty appeals, but they managed to hang on and showed great resilience which will leave them in good stead as they look to kick-start a campaign that has never really got going.
Understandably, the opening exchanges were cagey and few chances were created by both sides, although, Town enjoyed the lion’s share of possession with wingers Billy Medlock and Aaron Watson looking dangerous.
Player-manager Tony Reid led the line well, showing some good hold up play and some deft touches. However, the lack of cutting edge in the final-third, which has plagued their poor start to the season, was apparent in the first-half as they struggled to force the visiting keeper in to any serious action.
Reid went closest when Luke Denton headed back across the six-yard box but his goal-bound volley was blocked. Medlock then hit a tame effort straight at the keeper before seeing another shot tipped round the post shortly afterwards.
Town’s Greg Nessling was the busier of the two keepers, pulling off a string of impressive saves to keep the visitors at bay and ensured the sides went in at the break all-square.
The second-half started mainly in the same vain with neither side able to make the breakthrough. Town sub James Vaughan, who was introduced in place of Leyton Schaff at half-time, mustered the first chance, shooting from range but Corinthian keeper Richard Stroud made light work of it.
And it took an hour for the deadlock to be broken when skipper Luke Denton, who was busy in the middle of the park all afternoon, swung over an inviting free kick and centre-back Sasha Mbaye duly obliged, rising highest to send a towering header in to the top corner.
They went in search of the goal which would kill the tie but it wouldn’t come and they had to endure the inevitable onslaught in the final moments. The defence stood firm though with Ryan Cooper making an heroic goal saving clearance right at the death to ensure progression to the next round.
Relief could be felt all around the Saffrons at the final whistle, although the visitors left seething with the referee after he dismissed two strong looking penalty shouts.
That aside it was a deserved victory for Town and club manager Ady Colwell believes the team can build on their first win of the season.
“It was a hard-fought victory, that’s for sure. I think there were alot of nerves out there and that was demonstrated in the first period, but when we settled down we looked more competent. It’s massive for confidence and it’s a starting point for us to push on now.”
Town: Nessling, Daly, Sutton, Davidson, Cooper, Mbaye, Medlock, Denton, Reid (Cole), Schaff (Vaughan), Watson. Ref: Mr O Roguez
MoM: Luke Denton (skipper led by example and provided assist for winning goal)