Eastbourne Borough suffered late heartbreak after a 97th minute goal saw Hampton & Richmond steal all three points at The Beveree.

The Sports were well worth at least a point against a side battling for the play-offs, but after Brad Barry was sent off with three minutes of normal time to go, the points were set to be shared.

However, Mason Bloomfield scored in the seventh minute of time added on to break Borough hearts – despite only five minutes of stoppage time being indicated by the referee.

Looking to bounce back after a disappointing result on Saturday, Adam Murray’s side can take plenty of positives out of the game, and on that showing are more than up for the relegation fight.

The Sports made five changes to the team that lost to Tonbridge – including the return of both Harrison Foulkes in goal and Leone Gravata.

It was Borough who created the first opening of the game after just ten minutes. Gravata did well to take on and beat Isaac Pitblado down the right and he cut the ball across to Alfie Bendle, but his drive from 18 yards out was straight at Adam Desbois.

The Sports were enjoying the better possession, although Foulkes did have to be alert to turn Rob Hall’s free-kick around the post at the other end.

Jack Clarke then did well to win the ball and charge forward from inside his own half before releasing Siya Ligendza, but his shot was saved at his near post by Desbois.

Bird then pulled his shot wide from 20 yards out, before Foulkes made a fine stop to deny Hampton.

Hall slipped the ball through to Ben Seymour who got away from his marker, but the Borough keeper made himself big and produced a great save.

But for all their good play, the Sports were growing frustrated that they couldn’t make it count. Clarke had a volley across goal cleared after Desbois tipped a corner to the back post, before Decarrey Sheriff fired over on the turn from 20 yards out.

And Borough went even closer to taking a deserved lead into the break when Gravata took on Sam Dreyer before firing the ball low across and Sheriff helped it on, only to see it come back off the foot of the near post with Desbois beaten.

Hampton made a double change at the break in a bid to stem Borough’s flow, but the Sports still found themselves in the ascendancy.

Pierce Bird’s ball forwards found Sheriff, who drove at the home defence before firing just over before the forward played the ball out to Sam Beard on the left, and he fizzed the ball across goal but couldn’t get an elusive touch.

As time wore on, the hosts started to enjoy more of the ball as they looked to get forward but Borough went close to breaking the deadlock nine minutes from time. Bird played a great cross to substitute Dan Quick at the far post, who moments after coming on sent his rasping effort just over the bar.

The Sports were then reduced to ten men with three minutes of normal time to go when Barry was shown a second yellow card for a challenge in midfield.

Referee Daniel Baines then indicated five minutes stoppage time, and the Sports looked set for a deserved point when Beard produced a terrific block to deny Charlie O’Connell from close range.

But there was to be a dark twist in the tale. As the clock ticked to 97, a quickly taken free-kick set Pitblado away down the left and he fired the ball low across goal for substitute Bloomfield to fire in from close range.

A sickening end to a performance that deserved so much more.