National League South Tue 21 February Jezzards Beveree Stadium
Hampton & Richmond
Eastbourne Boro

After Saturday’s Battle of the Boroughs – with Farnborough despatched 2-0 at the Lane, Danny’s squad headed for the leafy suburbs for a second Battle – with H&RB. There are few, if any, more hospitable opponents than the Beavers – but there were no free league points on offer. The home side are scrambling to escape the drop zone, and they were committed and athletic in the cause.

The Sports had the better of the early phases, and Luke Pearce came desperately close to opening the scoring on 14 minutes, racing clear from half-way but fizzing his low shot across goal and just past the left post. But five minutes later Borough did take the lead, with a low Charlie Walker strike which took a slight deflection past keeper Alan Julian.

There is a theory that Eastbourne play less well on grass than on 3G, and certainly they were not well served by a Beveree grass surface unsuited to their lightning-quick passing game.  Add to that a home side which had done the homework, often doubling up on danger man Shiloh Remy, and the edge was taken off Borough’s game.

The balance of play swayed to and fro with half-chances at either end, until three minutes before the break – when the Beavers drew level. Not a classic, and not one of Eastbourne’s finest moments: a ball popped forward from halfway, two defenders going for the same ball, and a home forward beating them to it and playing in Alfy Whittingham, who touched the ball past Worgan and slipping it into the net from a tight angle.

All square at the break then, and rather poor reward for Borough’s bright start. But the second half was not great. Hampton surged ahead on 55 minutes when a left-wing corner was half-cleared to Dean Inman – and the veteran centre-back put his boot to it and put his name on the scoresheet with a swerver that may have caught Worgan unsighted by a Hampton player in the crowded goalmouth.

Danny Bloor’s resources – already limited by the crippling list of injuries – were now being stretched to the limit and beyond. Before the end of the night he would have lost Ryan Bartley, Luke Pearce and Mitch Dickenson to further knocks – and the excellent Kai Innocent had taken the armband at the age of 21.

This club (and this reporter) will never major on criticism of officials, but referee Jack Bloxham found himself confronted with a lot of 60-40 decisions and the Sports seemed to be the minority partners! With thirteen minutes to play, the Beavers extended their lead when a free-kick which might actually have gone Eastbourne’s way was knocked forward to Connor Curran-Browne – onside by inches, if at all – and the young substitute raced clear to score past an unprotected and  sprawling Worgan.

At 3-1, the home victory should have been assured, but the Sports found a little more fuel in the tank and pressed forward. Remy was shoved over in the box – not, in truth, the clearest of penalties, but Borough were not arguing, and Shiloh himself smashed the spot kick past Julian for 3-2.

But the final three minutes, plus stoppage, were stoutly defended by the Beavers, and the Sports had to admit defeat.

Borough: Worgan; Bartley, Burchell, Dickenson (Beckford 64), Innocent; Kastrati (Wabo 78), Bendle; Remy, Walker (Scarlett 60), Gravata; Pearce.  Unused subs: Holter, Bull.

Referee: Jack Bloxham     Att: 368

Borough MoM: Kai Innocent