The second away result in successive weekends – after last week’s useful point at Chippenham – proved again that the longer the trip, the stronger the bonds in Danny’s focused, committed squad. And the longer the miles, the wider the smiles for Borough’s loyal supporters, who were once again in full voice at the Bob Lucas Stadium.
With the Terras desperate for points to escape the relegation quicksand, it would always be tight. And a single goal, just past the half-hour, separated the teams.
As so often with good teamwork, it was the thinking, the movement and the sweeping build-up that brought the crucial strike. Take nothing away from Ryan Bartley, who arrived with perfect timing to find the net at the back post on 36 minutes. Ryan was outstanding throughout – and earned the rare accolade of a 9 rating from the NLP reporter – and it was the Crystal Palace youngster’s confident run from his own half that had started the move. A neat lay-off to Shiloh Remy, the sweetest of passes by Shiloh inside the Weymouth right-back, and a fizzing low ball across the area from Leone Gravata – for Bartley’s finish. A goal that would have graced any stadium in the land.
Early exchanges had seen a strong start by the Terras. In just the second minute, Akheem Rose struck a low shot wide of the right-hand post, and then from a midfield free-kick Max Hemmings smacked a volley high and not too handsome. A third Weymouth goal attempt, slightly deflected, was gathered well by Lee Worgan, and one other bobbling effort missed the far post. And that was the sum of Weymouth’s attacking efforts in the first forty-five minutes.
The Sports, meanwhile, were growing stronger and ever more adventurous. A shimmying Shiloh had beautifully played in Leone for a rasping angled shot which keeper Gerard Benfield saved low at the near post. And after Bartley had put Borough ahead, Leone saw another spectacular volley blocked by a brave defender.
One-nil at the break, and still plenty of work to do. A fabulous Vaughan pass sent Luke Pearce racing through, but the young striker’s shot was desperately cleared by a defender with Benfield sprawling. From a long free-kick Dickenson – welcome back, Mitch! – looped a header just off target, and then Benfield clutched another header from Bartley.
The Terras absolutely never gave up. One skimming ball across the Borough six-yard line went begging, and then a vain penalty appeal just inside the box only earned a yellow for a Weymouth forward. But where the home defence had been chasing shadows, Eastbourne’s back line was alert and committed in snuffing out the threats.
And so it finished: on the scoresheet, just Ryan’s strike, but on the pitch a whole-team shift in which every Borough player gave sweat, stamina and smart football thinking. Five games to go, fifteen points to be claimed. Who knows…?
Borough: Worgan; Bartley, Barry, Dickenson, Innocent; Vaughan (Perez 86), Hammond; Remy, Walker, Gravata (Luer 65); Pearce (Yila 80). Subs: not used: Burchell, Wabo.
Referee: Mr R Martin Att: 816 Borough MoM: Ryan Bartley