A last minute goal, so often a heartbreaker for The Sports this season, gave Eastbourne Borough a well deserved win at Farnborough FC.
Two loanee's from Gillingham FC, Josh Hare and Nathan Nyalfi, appeared on Sports teamsheet, and Josh would make a late cameo, but boss Tommy Widdrington showed faith in his young squad, Adam Watts and Ollie Rowe the centre-back partnership, Gary Hart starting up front with James Walker. Substitute Darren Lok, dubbed "My David Fairclough ..." by Widdrington post match, grabbed the headlines with a controlled volley in the 89th minute, but there were excellent performances all through the squad to provide the platform for a gransdstand finish.
For much of the afternoon there was little between the sides, a reflection possibly that despite the numerical placings between the clubs at 3.00pm, the division is so tight that there are no easy games in the fixture list.
Sports started on the offensive but it took a superb Danny Potter low save from a fierce free-kick on the 15 minute mark to keep the scores level. This was to be the most that 'Potts' would be extended throughout the match, his confident catching/punches and distribution a feature of the afternnon for Sports.
As the half wore on Borough began to force the hosts back. The Rushmoor pitch, hard and surprisingly rutted, made precise passing a challenge and control often an aspiration rather than expectation, but Frankie Raymond and Charlie Gorman both threatened ex loanee Sport Ross Worner in the Farnborough goal. The half drew to a close with Reece Connolly heading wide on 34 minutes - a chance wasted for the hosts.
The second 45 began with the lively Walker shooting wide and Worner tipping a fierce Harvin Hamilton drive onto the bar and over for a corner - the first of several saves he made to earn himself the Farnborough MOM award. Hart had worked tirelessly all game, working hard to win 50/50's, bringing others into play with the ball at his feet, and the first line of defence when out of possesion, and he so nearly capped the performance with a turn and flicked shot on 79 minutes that again drew a fabulous reaction save from Worner to keep Sports at bay.
Lok replaced Walker on 80 minutes, and his pace and willingness to chase down every ball added to the anxiety in the home defence. Farnborough had broken at speed and produced several deliveries across the face of The Sports goal but the Sports back 5 rarely looked troubled, the hosts frustration growing on the park and in the terraces.
The winner came courtesy of a free-kick, kept alive in the penalty area by Frankie Raymond, nodded down by Hart and driven home by Lok for wild scenes from those in red. With this being Eastbourne Borough many were nervous during the 3 added minutes but there were no scares and the whistle blew to jubilant scenes on and off the pitch.
The Sports gathered together as a squad under the imposing but empty stand behind Potter's goal. A vision of solidarity that they soon shared with the travelling support. Eastbourne Borough have played better this seaosn (and lost on occasions) but following 3 difficult results this was exactly what was needed - an honest performance of grit, tenacity, and at times real quality - that ended with a well worked goal to earn maximum reward.
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|Maidenhead United||2||2||Basingstoke Town|
|Tonbridge Angels||0||2||Dorchester Town|
|Havant & Waterlooville||2||2||Salisbury City|
|Bath City||1||1||Truro City|
|Boreham Wood||1||1||Dover Athletic|
|Chelmsford City||1||0||Sutton United||Att. 702|
|AFC Hornchurch||1||1||Staines Town|