Worthing rose to fourth place in National South, claiming the honours in the East-West Sussex derby with a 2-0 smash and grab raid on Eastbourne Borough at The SO Legal Community Stadium.
Fair game to Adam Hinshelwood’s side, who defeated the Sports at their third attempt of the season. Borough were always in the game, and with some terrific early forward play, they created chances that would have set them on track for victory.
But the Rebels scored in the final minutes of each half to cap an impressive tactical display, snuffing out the home side and then scoring when it mattered. The Sports, lively in the opening half-hour when they could have taken a commanding lead, lost their way after Liam Vincent’s brilliant 38th-minute opener, and they sealed the deal with a scrambled second goal 16 minutes from time.
Eastbourne opened with an absolute blitz of attacks, pouring forward, reclaiming possession again and again from a hapless Worthing defence, and creating a string of good chances. As early as the third minute, Leone Gravata combined with Kai Innocent to crack a shot that bounced down off the underside of the bar and spun away. Just a matter of inches, and a moment that would have set the whole game on a different course! Then within minutes, Innocent himself and an untameable Shiloh Remy each saw shots saved by Harrison Male.
Rebels wobbled but survived and, with a driving wind at their backs, began to force upfield. Their first shot on goal was an explosive low drive on 38 minutes from skipper Joel Colbran, which drew an unbelievable save from Lee Worgan, arching to his right. But the resulting corner was drilled into the near post and laid back for Vincent to screech a rising shot into the top left corner for 1-0: an expertly worked routine.
Changing round with the gale behind them, the Sports must have expected to re-open the throttle in the second half. Borough lost Brad Barry to injury, replaced by an eager Milly Scarlett – and it must be frustrating for the manager to be missing the likes of Barry and James Vaughan from a squad already a bit light on numbers.
A flurry of attacks around the hour mark did produce chances for Greg Luer and then Charlie Walker – the latter thwarted by a brave block from centre-back Joe Rye. Fletcher Holman, a young man with bags of talent and potential, got a taste of National South action in the last quarter of an hour, and looked smart and eager: Fletcher will surely get his proper chance as the season unfolds.
But the Rebels were managing the game cannily and taking the sting and pace out of the home attacks – and as the minutes slipped away, Worthing surprised even themselves with the softest of second goals. From a right wing corner the ball was half cleared but poked back into the Borough box, where the unfortunate James Hammond deflected the ball into his own net.
Borough never gave up, but a match which had opened so brightly for them slipped away into the damp Priory Lane evening.
With the long midweek trip to Taunton postponed again so they can play their postponed FA Trophy game against Torquay, the Borough will have time to recuperate and prepare for next Saturdays game at home to Hungerford.
Eastbourne Borough: Worgan; Barry (Scarlett 50), Burchell, Dickenson, Innocent; Hammond, Perez (Holman 75); Remy, Walker (Wabo 84), Gravata, Luer. Subs not used: Bull, Holter.
Referee: George Laffin Att: 1407
Borough MoM: Lee Worgan nominated by match sponsor Eastbourne Property Shop