Monday, 30 July 2012

Eastbourne Borough 0 v 0 AFC Wimbledon

Saturday 28th July 2012
Pre-Season Friendly
Priory Lane, Eastbourne
Admission: £10.00
Programme: £1.00
Attendance: 601
Match rating: 3

Spending Saturday night in Eastbourne meant I would take in a friendly fixture that would otherwise not be particularly appealing. Not that paying a visit to Priory Lane would be entirely without attracion, with a team from the Football League playing at the home of a club of the Conference South - although the teams played each other recently in the Conference National Division. For me it would be a revisit to a ground I had not visited for several years, when it hosted the Four Nations non league tournament, and my previous visit to watch the local team was to watch Langney Sports, then of the Sussex League, at a much more basic ground that it has been upgraded to now.

Priory Lane is located about a 15 minute walk from Pevensey and Westham rail station, and is a ground that has little charm or character, but boasts very decent facilities for a Conference club. As one enters the ground behind the goal there is a cover stretching from corner to corner in front of the changing room building, with executive boxes and a directors lounge above the middle third area. Straddling the half way line on one side is the main all-seater stand, with a few steps of terracing between the stand and one of the corner flags. Around almost all of the rest of the ground is continuous cover a few steps of terracing, with a short area close to the entrance that is uncovered and also contains a basic electronic scoreboard. A very basic 14 page programme was produced for the reduced cost of £1.00, although it did contain all the basics and almost no advertising inside the outer shell.

On a sunny but very windy afternoon, the match started off in lively fashion, with AFC Wimbledon creating some half chances, most notably on 15 minutes when Brendan Kiernan saw his header come off the post with the keeper completely beaten. With half an hour gone, the home side were almost gifted a goal, when a Wimbledon defender and keeper got in a mix up but Toby Ajala could not gain control of the ball sufficiently to get a shot away.

The second half was a much more even affair, as Eastbourne managed to retain possession better.and had the better chances to score. There was an ever increasing feeling of inevitability of a goalless draw, and so it proved, although the game was one of the more entertaining goalless pre-season friendlies.

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