Last up? A gripping FA Cup encounter at Worthing, who took an early lead before the Sports struck back with a cracking Shiloh Remy strike, and won the game with Leone Gravata’s second half stunner. Our ace reporter Lauren Ellis reports from Woodside Road:
[i]When Eastbourne Borough were drawn out of the hat to face Worthing away in the FA Cup Third Qualifying Round it brought about mixed feelings for the supporters. A home draw against an opposition lower down the pyramid would have provided a better chance of progression than an away tie to Worthing who are unbeaten in the league. Despite some trepidation Borough supporters travelled to Woodside with justifiable optimism that a draw or a win could be achieved.
Worthing went ahead when Lewis White squeezed between James Vaughan and James Hammond shooting from the edge of the penalty area across the outstretched Lee Worgan. Minutes later Leone Gravata played the ball into space in the six-yard box which was latched onto by Greg Luer who made enough contact to edge the ball through the keeper’s legs. Unfortunately, the referee’s assistant deemed it was offside. Luer was again involved when he slotted a short pass, taking out three defenders, to Shiloh Remy whose shot from a tight angle was saved by the keeper.
But the pass of the match was made by Jaden Perez who played an incisive ball to Remy. Remy initially running parallel to the 18-yard box, then angled his run to meet the ball finished with a shot high into the roof of the net. Just before half time Remy again caused havoc running at the Worthing midfield before crossing to Luer, whose header went just over the bar. Eastbourne edged the first half after creating the better chances.
In the 60th minute Gravata on the left ran 10 yards with the ball before unleashing a right foot shot outside the 18-yard box hitting the inside of the post before going in. A terrific goal, and it would prove to be the decisive strike. It would be expected that the home side would come back strongly and pile on the pressure.
Inexplicably, this never happened as Worthing showed a strange lack of intent, passing the ball around in their own defensive third. With a lesser side than Eastbourne, Worthing may have got away with their insipid performance. However, Eastbourne’s midfield worked tirelessly to capitalise on their opponents’ negative mentality and dominated the second half.
Neither side created any further quality chances before the referee blew the final whistle. Not to take anything away from a solid team performance; Shiloh Remy stood out for Eastbourne. This skilful player, who can use both his feet equally effectively, was a handful for the Worthing midfield and defence all afternoon. Surely Danny Bloor’s signing of the close season.
In a revealing post-match interview the brutally honest Worthing manager Adam Hinshelwood admitted that he got the shape, the team and the subs wrong and the better team won. He said that the league positions were a ‘false reflection’ of the standings of the two clubs. He described Worthing’s second half performance as ‘powder puff’ and one of the worst halves of football he had seen for a long time.
The winners of the match gained a useful £5,625 in prize money, a proportion of the gate receipts and an opportunity to progress in the competition. For the Borough supporters who made the trip to Woodside, it was an immensely satisfying feeling. To win away from home from a goal down, in the FA Cup, against your closest league rivals. Does it get any better than that? [/i]
Next up? Weymouth make the long trip from Dorset for Saturday’s National South contest – and after a dreadful start to the season, the Terras are suddenly finding form. Weymouth instantly hit claimed their best result of the season after, just a couple of weeks ago, Bobby Wilkinson took over as manger from David Oldfield. They beat in-form Welling United to progress in the FA Cup, and Mr Wilkinson will no doubt be his ebullient self when he takes the Priory Lane touchline on Saturday. Read Danny’s comments below…
And then coming up? A trip to Berkshire in the FA Cup on Saturday 15th October – full match details, admission prices, transport to follow… The Sports have been drawn against Maidenhead and…
[i]“You don’t choose your FA Cup opponents – you take what you’re given!” Eastbourne Borough manager Danny Bloor will take his side to National League Maidenhead United next week – and take it in his stride.
The fourth qualifying round, just ninety minutes from the First Round Proper and the chance of a big occasion, might have been kinder to the Sports, but Bloor is not unhappy with the prospect of a trip along the M4. The Magpies currently sit in midtable in the National League. Their season had started sluggishly but two victories this week have boosted them.
“Maidenhead United are a good, well organised side and in terms of status, they will start as favourites. We have no problem at all with that, and we will do our preparation as with every opponent. We came away from Worthing (in the last round) with a 2-1 scoreline which actually didn’t do justice to our performance – it could well have been three or four.”
The Berkshire side – whose York Road ground is the oldest football ground in the world in unbroken use – are under the charge of one of the game’s most experienced managers, Alan Devonshire. The former West Ham favourite’s previous closest encounter with the Sports was as boss of Hampton and Richmond Borough – whom Garry Wilson’s Sports just pipped for promotion in a 2009 play-off final.
“I’ve known and respected Dev for very many years – he is a great man and a top manager – the only surprise is that he has never taken up a post at a Football League club.”
But before any thoughts of FA Cup progress, Danny’s side must return to National South action. Tomorrow, Saturday, they welcome Weymouth to the SO Legal Community Stadium – and after a recent change of manager, Bloor reckons the Terras are a club transformed.
“Until now Weymouth have been rock bottom, but they now have Bobby Wilkinson in charge and he is already turning them round. They had a superb Cup win last week against Welling United, and Bobby is a manager who always makes an impact.
“In a context like that, the league table is meaningless. We will need to be at our very best and I’m sure our supporters will see a cracking contest.”
The Sports have been on the road for three games – a commanding win at Concord Rangers, a 2-1 defeat at Dartford that was marred by racist comments from the home terraces, and the FA Cup showdown at Worthing. Ten games in, how does the boss think Borough are shaping up?
“Well, our league record is identical to last season’s after ten games, and we know where that took us. We’re well in touch with the clubs above us. The actual results have been a mixture – four wins, a draw and five defeats. But of those five, only the 0-2 performance at Hungerford was really poor. The others were all by the odd goal, and from winning positions.
“That reflects partly that we are a quite young side, and still a work in progress. Shiloh Remy, Milly Scarlett, Jaden Perez, Leone Gravata – all are still adjusting to National South but learning really fast. They are a joy for my staff to work with, and the supporters have really taken to them.”[/i]
All in all, Mr Bloor sounds like a very upbeat manager. But then, you knew that already….