Match Report by Nick DuGard: Saturday, 23 January 2016:
National League South:
Eastbourne Borough 3 Wealdstone 0
Hopes were high that Wealdstone, following the previous Monday evening’s fine performance at The Freebets.co.uk stadium, would gain the points against struggling Eastbourne Borough. Instead, those that travelled to Priory Lane on Saturday witnessed an insipid display that lacked any kind of cutting edge. In fact the attack was as blunt as old Harry but the rest of team were equally toothless but more worryingly for the most part lacked ideas and appeared to capitulate in awholly depressing first half.
Matters did improve in the second period for Stones with at least far greater possession across the park, but the damage had already been done. Only one change from the Gosport performance with Johnny Wright missing via his mugging and in came Matt Ball as expected. It was chalk and cheese.
In a message to the fans an angry Gordon Bartlett said after the match:
‘As good as we were on Monday, we were the total opposite today and we got exactly what we deserved – nothing. We are far too inconsistent and our performance lacked the passion, desire and energy we expect and I personally apologise to the fans that made the journey to support us.
‘There seemed an apathy out there which is totally unacceptable at any time but especially in our current position. We have now put ourselves in a massive dogfight where everyone needs to dig very deep and show the character and commitment to fight our way out of the mire’
The Stones boss went on to say: ‘There are still 57 points up for grabs and it starts on Tuesday at Dartford.’
As for the details, early sparring and some free kicks from both sides gradually saw the home side gain a foothold with their sharper movement and possession and pre match talk of Borough being depleted with two key players suspended looked to have been forgotten as it didn’t show. After some Stones procrastination in midfield The Sports took the lead on nine minutes. It was the proverbial knife through butter – unusual for Stones usually solid rear-guard and Nathan Pinney shot home past Sam Howes with the easiest of chances.
Stones did have two chances of note in the first period. Bradley Hudson-Odoi went on a good run and his eventual strike from an acute angle flew past the far post and Josh McLeod Urquhart flashed the ball over with a flailing boot from an all too rare Jefferson Louis header that ironically may have been heading for the top corner with Borough keeper Lewis Carey beaten.
But in-between these chances Eastbourne had doubled their lead with an even simpler chance when the Stones defence, as inept as anyone on the day, got themselves into a total pickle and Kane Haysman tapped home.
Scott Davies added an embarrassing moment at the end of the half when he somehow contrived to farcically botch a corner kick.
The second half for Stones was far better in terms of possession and attacking intent but sadly no better in terms of end product although there was a feeling that this was a game drenched in Murphy’s Law and nothing was going to look rosy for the hapless away side.
The Sports had possibly two chances in the second 45 and scored their third goal from one of them. This time is was the unfortunate Howes that got in on the act and his attempted ‘scooped’ save saw Jack Evans moderate strike instead bounce into the net.
Even veteran Scott McGleish, on as a late substitute, got in the way of a goal bound strike from Matt Harriott with Carey exposed.
One of those days then for Stones, but relegation fears are now back firmly on the agenda.
Wealdstone: Howes, McLeod-Urquhart, Smith, Cadmore, Hamblin, Godfrey, Ball, Harriott, Louis, Davies, Hudson-Odoi. Subs used: Lucien, Binns, McGleish. Not used: Parker.