Match report courtesy of Kevin Anderson.
It can be unwise to expect too much of the early friendlies, but expectations were, if anything, exceeded by an Eastbourne squad that shows a promising blend of established players and new signings. There was a pass-and-move mantra throughout the team, from cultured centre-back Gary Charman to the slick, inventive movement of the front runners.
Peacehaven frequently welcomes its visitors with a blustery burst of weather straight off the Channel, but the squalls had moved on just in time, and we were greeted with a glowing evening and a decent green pitch to launch the new season. Fans were also startled by the earliest substitution of this or any pre-season: with just forty seconds played, Gary Elphick twinged his Achilles tendon and came off as a precaution.
The Borough shape was slightly surprising, too. Ben Watson played sole striker in front of a five-man midfield arc which slotted Matt Crabb into a sort of inside-right and also found room for young Billy Medlock on the right flank. But it was on the left wing that Eastbourne exploded into life, in the shape of Steven Brinkhurst. The young striker showed persistence to win the ball and then a cool head to finish off his driving run forward to put Borough ahead on 16 minutes.
Peacehaven, an eager young side who never gave up, came close to an equaliser through Clive Snell’s 25-yard cracker and then passed up a gifted penalty, Craig Bunch stabbing the spot kick wide of Clark Masters’ goal.
Then on the half-hour Brinkhurst, who looked full of appetite all night, doubled the lead with a low threaded shot from a corner, and Eastbourne were firmly in control.
At the break Garry Wilson made half a dozen changes, switching to 4-4-2 with a new strike partnership of Carl Rook and Ian Pulman – the latter swiftly rising to the challenge of filling Jamie Taylor’s no. 10 shirt with a lively display and a sublimely taken final goal for 4-0. Sam Cole
, the youngster from Rye, had already bagged Borough’s third with a low shot on the hour through a crowded area.
There might have been more goals as Eastbourne maintained the tempo and the pressure, but this was not a night to be greedy. As a first run out, it was more than satisfactory.
Borough (first half:)
Masters; Baker, Elphick, Charman, Cobbs ; Medlock, Crabb, Smart, Johnson, Brinkhurst ; Watson.
(second half:) Banks; Rowe, Baker, Charman, Crabb ; Brinkhurst, Strevett, Hutchinson, Cole ; Rook, Pulman.
MoM: Steve Brinkhurst – explosive running and finishing.