Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Eastbourne Town 4 v 0 Shoreham

Tuesday 23rd September 2014
Sussex County League Division One
The Saffrons, Eastbourne
Admission: £6.00
Programme: £1.50
Attendance: 115
Match Rating: 4

This evening I decided to make a return visit to The Saffrons. It has only been just over a year since my last visit, but it’s a nice place to watch football, with a friendly, relaxed environment in very pleasant surroundings.

There have been no changes to the ground since my last visit in August 2013, and the programme remains of good quality – very professionally produced, with all of the information one could want about the game, home and visiting clubs.

After a disastrous season, in which saw their seven year stay in the Isthmian League Division One South come to an end after finishing bottom, 16 points adrift of safety, Eastbourne Town are having a better season this time around at the step below. They went into this game in eighth place, winning four and drawing one of their seven games so far. Shoreham were in eleventh place, having won three and drawn two of their eight games so far, although they are unbeaten in their last five league games, having lost their first three.

On a dry evening with a slight chilly edge to it, Eastbourne would completely dominate this game from start to finish, displaying an impressive brand of energetic football, closing players down effectively, winning the ball through strength in challenges, and passing the ball at a high tempo. With seven minutes on the clock, they took the lead. An initial shot was parried out by the keeper, and Danny Ellis stroked the ball low just inside the post.  On 22 minutes, they were awarded a penalty for a trip towards the edge of the area, and Joe Dryer converted straight down the middle. They had plenty of chances to make their lead even more convincing, most notably on 32 minutes when a bullet header from a corner flew just over the bar. With Shoreham struggling to live with the home team and resorting to increasingly aggressive fouls, it wasn’t too much of a surprise when they had a player sent off, Craig Stevens for kicking out.

One felt that the result was beyond reasonable doubt at half time following the sending off combined with the two goal lead for Eastbourne, and it was all but confirmed within three minutes of the restart when Eastbourne scored their third. A cross was played in from the left, and Dominic Clarke glanced a well-judged header out of the keeper’s reach and into the net. Shoreham did have the odd chance on the break, their best chance of getting on the scoresheet coming on 51 minutes, when a backpass by an Eastbourne defender towards his goalkeeper was intercepted, but the Shoreham man couldn’t get sight of goal quickly enough before defenders blocked the ball away. On 62 minutes, Eastbourne scored their fourth, when the ball was laid back in the area and Liam Baitup drove the ball just inside the post. Quite how the scoreline remained at 4-0 until the final whistle is anyone’s guess, as Eastbourne rained in shots that were either well saved and went just wide or high of the goal. However, this was a performance that will surely give Eastbourne Town a lot of confidence which, if repeated more often than not throughout the season, will surely see them comfortably inside the top six. As for Shoreham, this was a poor performance that brought an abrupt end to their five match unbeaten run, although they were up against a team in very good form this evening.

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