Kiran To The Rescue
By Lee Peskett
Eastbourne Borough's longest away trip of the season brought fair reward on Saturday, bringing home a valuable National South point from Truro City after a 2-2 draw.
By Kevin Anderson
It might have been better still, but after leading for more than half of the game through an early Mark Hughes goal, the Sports conceded twice after half-time and had to battle for their point through a late Kiran Khinda-John (pictured) equaliser.
Borough have now not lost since the 5-1 home defeat to Chelmsford City in late September, when both centre-backs Ian Simpemba and Brian Dutton were red-carded. Since then, with a run of three draws and two victories, the Sports have proved themselves grittier and harder to beat.
A trip to West Cornwall requires almost military planning. The Borough coach set out from Priory Lane at 8.30am on Friday morning, setting the satnav for the Bristol Rovers training ground, where the squad trained before heading south-west for an overnight stay. The 600-mile round trip was completed at 2.30am on Sunday morning - a total of 42 hours! Once a season is quite enough, but at least this was no fruitless journey.
Tommy Widdrington, with a strong squad to choose from, rang one or two changes, giving a start at wing-back to Alex Smith and introducing new loan signing Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain into midfield. Truro also had a well-known newcomer in the person of Chris Todd, until recently manager of National League Eastleigh, and a top player in his own right.
Oxlade-Chamberlain, fresh in from Portsmouth, was instrumental in Eastbourne's early lead, driving in a corner from the left which Mark Hughes turned in from close range. The White Tigers have been relatively toothless for most of this season, and their fans must have feared the worst. But although the Sports dominated most of the first half they failed to add to the 1-0 advantage.
And in a rocky spell after half-time, the visitors suddenly found themselves 2-1 down. In a 58th minute breakaway attack Rocky Neal found Louis Rooney, whose shot from the edge of the box deflected painfully over Lewis Carey to equalise. Then six minutes later, with Carey unsighted, Niall Thompson's low drive put the White Tigers ahead.
Even card-carrying members of Mebyon Kernow (https://www.mebyonkernow.org/) and devoted Poldark followers had to concede that the two home goals were against the flow of play, in a game where Lewis Carey was often an under-employed spectator. As Borough pressed strongly for an equaliser, Widdrington introduced Miguel Baptista and top scorer Elliott Romain - back from suspension - to fire his side forward, and the clock was ticking.
But the Sports, who were plagued throughout last year's campaign by the conceding of late goals, appear to have reversed that habit this season, and once again they finished strongly, equalising on 83 minutes. Centre-backs typically score their goals with thumping headers from corner-kicks, but this time Kiran Khinda-John showed his finesse, checking in from the left with a stylish finish into the far corner. A fair result, and a happier journey home.
Borough: Carey; Hare, Simpemba, Khinda-John, Stone, Smith; Oxlade-Chamberlain (Baptista 68), Hughes, McCallum; Taylor, Pinney (Romain 60). Unused subs: Dutton, Horlock, O'Reilly.
Referee: Ian Fissenden Att: 323
Borough MoM: Kiran Khinda-John - saved the day