It was a case of mistakes and missed opportunities for Eastbourne Borough as they slipped to defeat at home to Bath City.
Two mistakes led to two goals in the first half as the visitors took a 2-0 lead into the break at Priory Lane.
The Sports needed a response, and it came second half and despite going a man down due to injury, the hosts can count themselves unfortunate not to have taken a point from the game.
Borough made six changes on the back of defeat at Aveley on Monday, with Mark Beard opting to go with a more experienced line-up. In came Alex Finney, Jack Paxman, Jack Clarke, Leone Gravata and Decarrey Sheriff, with Sam Beard also starting a day after joining on loan from Barnet.
Chances were at a premium early on, and it took a mistake for the deadlock to be broken after 24 minutes. Debutant Sam Beard got caught in possession by Jordan Thomas, who broke clear and one on one with the keeper tucked home.
However, he atoned for his mistake three minutes later. Elliott Frear’s cross picked out Scott Wilson at the far post, but Beard flung himself in front of the forward to block his effort from close range.
Borough looked to try and get back into the game, with Shiloh Remy going close twice but failing to hit the target.
Despite little separating the teams, it was City who went on to double their lead in first half stoppage time. After Thomas was fouled in the area, Cody Cooke stepped up and fired low past the reach of Ben Dudzinski.
The Sports needed a response in the second half, and they made a triple change at the break with Yaser Kasim, Jay Beckford and Dan Quick all coming on.
And the hosts took control of the game after the break, keeping the ball moving and staying on the front foot. Kasim found the feet of Sheriff who turned around from this marker but only to fire over, before Beckford forced Ollie Wright into a smart save with an effort from the edge of the area.
However, the Sports were dealt a blow midway through the second half when Remy was forced off injured – and having made all three subs had to play on with ten men.
Despite that, Borough still dominated and went close when Beard’s cross was helped onto Finney at the far post, but on the half volley saw his effort go just over the top.
But Borough’s pressure was rewarded, and they were given a lifeline with 13 minutes to go. Gravata fired in a cross from the right and Sheriff shrugged off his man to head past Wright.
It was all set up for a grand stand finish – and Borough had chances to earn a point that would have been the least they deserved.
Kasim saw an effort saved by Wright diving to his right, before Gravata’s ball in picked out an unmarked Clarke, but he couldn’t keep his header on target.
The Sports were relentless in their waves of attack, but they were almost caught out in stoppage time. Wilson played through Tom Smith as Bath broke clear, but one on one with Dudzinski couldn’t beat the Borough keeper.
And the Sports’ stopper almost wrote the headlines in the dying moments. Going up for a corner, the set piece was headed clear as far as Dudzinski 25 yards out. He took it on the volley, but his effort bound for the bottom corner tipped around the post by Ollie Wright.
A frustrating defeat for the Sports, but Rome wasn’t built in a day…