National League South Sat 5 November SO Legal Community Stadium
Eastbourne Boro

….with an emphatic 3-0 victory over visitors Cheshunt on Saturday.

The Sports had to work hard for the points. Goalless at half-time, the game swung decisively towards the home side in a dramatic quarter-hour after half-time – with two goals for Borough and a huge penalty shout for the Ambers. More of that later…

On a chilly November afternoon, the SO Legal Community Stadium played host to over 800 spectators, including a buoyant band of Ambers supporters, enjoying life in National South despite a mixed opening phase of the season. In fact, Craig Edwards’ team had contrived to lose ten of their opening dozen games, but recently clicking into much better form, and Danny Bloor’s men were expecting no easy ride.

Resting Greg Luer and James Hammond, Bloor started with Jake Hutchinson up front and Charlie Walker at 10 – and the club captain put his injury-ridden season right back on track with busy mobility and a cracking goal. But this was a whole-team performance, assured at the back after that shaky performance at Chelmsford, and full of combative commitment all over the park.

The first forty-five minutes, in truth, were mostly forgettable. Two evenly matched teams and only a few sights of goal. Early on, Reece Beckles-Richards hit a fizzing cross-shot, excellently dealt with by Worgan, and Borough responded with a Leone Gravata strike, blocked for a corner – following great work by the enterprising Shiloh Remy.

Kai Innocent was back to his best with some terrific runs forward reminiscent of his earlier days at the Lane two seasons ago, getting in behind a Cheshunt defence who were not the nimblest. And as half-time approached, Shiloh was sweetly played into the box but his shot was deflected at the left post for a corner.

Goalless at the break, then – but plenty to be pleased with. Could the Sports turn pressure into goals? Was there more to come from the Ambers? We did not have too long to wait.

Just four minutes into the second half, Borough opened up the Cheshunt left flank, and the impressive James Vaughan drilled in a low ball that Taylor McKenzie could only turn past his own keeper. A stroke of fortune, or A reward for the incisive attack? Depends whose colours you’re wearing! But for Cheshunt, just two minutes later, frustration was about to turn into despair…

Vaughan’s rash back pass to Worgan was seized on by Ambers’ Isaac Newton, who raced through, collided with the Borough keeper, and went sprawling spectacularly in the area. Penalty? It was the sort of moment when, in a cricket match, the umpire raises his finger as if by reflex, whether right or wrong. But from referee Jack Packman there was no such reflex response.

Packman’s assistant, well placed on the line, also did not indicate a penalty, and the split-second moment probably turned on which player, Worgan or Newton, got first contact on the ball. In real time, Lee had appeared to get a touch – but Cheshunt were absolutely incensed, and for the rest of the afternoon they did not let the referee forget it. It’s the toughest job on the park, and Mr Packman actually had a very good day on the whistle. But yes, as our cricket commentator friends would say, “I’ve seen ‘em given…”

Incidentally, there was no definitive evidence either from the distant video camera, whose brave operator had to spend much of the second half wiping his lens dry as squall after squall swept in off the Channel. Coastal weather at its most merciless – and it sometimes made playing football about as easy as playing table-tennis on the deck of a North Sea trawler.

But yes, that was a huge turning point, and while Cheshunt growled and stomped, Borough never looked back. Within five minutes the lead was doubled, Walker nimbly getting across the front of the defence and curling the sweetest of shots just inside the left post.

Charlie looked to repeat the trick a few minutes later, but shot too high, and a lively Leone did test keeper Joe Rose, but the lead now looked comfortable. Cheshunt’s only real response was a series of concrete challenges, and they finished the afternoon with three yellow cards.

Borough’s own finish to a highly satisfactory day came in stoppage time. From a free-kick by the left corner-flag, Innocent and Luer combined exquisitely to set up Remy’s triumphant strike from eight yards. Back on track for the Borough.

Borough: Worgan; Barry, Wynter, Dickenson, Innocent; Perez, Vaughan; Remy. Walker (Fletcher Holman 90+1), Gravata; Hutchinson (Luer 71). Unused subs: Holter, Hammond, Bull.
Referee: Jack Packman Att: 753
Sponsor’s MoM: Lee Worgan – with thanks to our awesome match sponsor, Chilli Pepper Designs, for their constant and marvellous support !

Photo credit: Andy Pelling