United's unbeaten run progressed to four games this afternoon at Church Road as that battling spirit shone through again with a come from behind draw against pace setters Eastbourne Borough, courtesy of a superb Will Hendry strike.
It was the visitors who started quickest, Andy Atkin did well to control a Neil Jenkins free-kick, firing goalwards on the turn without much alarm to Delroy Preddie in the United goal and defender Tom Cadmore did well on 15 minutes when Atkin latched onto a long Jay Lovett pass, the United defender blocking his shot away to safety.
United then started to find some momentum of their own, Steve Perkins found Danny Allen-Page on the overlap, he beat his marker before crossing to Kieran Knight, the striker flicked on to Toby Little but his volley was blocked by the covering Lovett. Five minutes later a premature "yeeesss" went up as Little won the ball before laying it off to Hendry, the midfielders deep cross being met by the diving Simon Martin at the far post but it was just the side netting that rippled.
On the half hour mark, United stopper Preddie did well to palm away an Atkin drive after a long Jenkins pass had put him through on goal, the loose ball being chased down by Preddie and striker Scott Ramsay, despite winning the race, the Sports striker overran the ball into touch.
Little and Knight combined to set up a chance for Hendry but he was off target from 20 yards while at the other end Ramsay also took a pot shot from distance and failed to trouble Preddie. Six minutes from the break a deep cross from Matt Crabb saw Preddie misjudge the ball allowing Ramsay to head back over him but fortunately for United the ball bounced off the top of the crossbar and over.
Just a minute from the break United had a little luck that had been missing early on, Preddie came for a long ball that Cadmore decided to hack clear, the ball striking Atkin before flying over Preddie and thankfully over the goal.
As with the first period, the
first chance of the second fell to the visitors. A swinging cross from the impressive Pat Harding found Atkin at the far post but his glancing effort was wide of the target. With chances still coming for both sides, Sports keeper Lee Hook had to be at his best to tip over a Hendry drive and at the opposite end, Crabb rushed his shot after being put through and it rolled slowly wide of the target.
The 57th minute finally saw the deadlock broken by the visiting league leaders. A long throw from skipper Paul Armstrong appeared to be misjudged by United skipper Nevin Saroya as his weak header fell nicely to Ramsay who converted with an overhead effort into the bottom corner of Preddie's net.
As with the previous two games, going behind just seemed to stir United into more direct action. Hendry surged forwards from halfway, having reached the edge of the box he slid the ball to Knight who in turn fired across the face of Hook's goal with a sliding Martin being inches away from converting. A Liam Collins cross was met by Martin but Hook held on comfortably but the respite lasted just a matter of seconds as Hendry pulled the game level. Allen-Page won possession on the right side and found Hendry on the right corner of the area, he in turn fired a fierce shot across the face of Hook and into the far corner of the Sports net.
The final fifteen minutes saw a couple of chances for the visitors, Atkin headed wide at a stretch and substitute Jamie Day shot weakly at Preddie from the edge of the area. The best chance in the closing stages came to United, Hendry planted a cross on Martin's head, he beat Hook only to see his effort come back into play off the post to Miles Jones but his follow up was twice blocked away by Hook's legs.
Report by Kevin Watts. Photos by Ray Peploe.