Eastbourne Borough eased to victory over a United side that was unchanged from that which defeated Bath City at the weekend. A disappointing performance from the visitors was punished ruthlessly with some well drilled set piece and counter attacking football from their hosts.
United started brightly and Ahmed Deen got on the end of a fine flowing move involving Bradley Pritchard and Ben Wight, but was inches over with his shot.
However, Eastbourne’s direct football using their skilful wide players soon got them into the game. Richard Pacquette released Ross Treleaven on the right and his centre just missed the onrushing Matt Crabb.
Treleaven’s gigantic throw-ins were another source of attack for Eastbourne and from his first, Gary Elphick flicked a header on only to find Lewis Ferrell back on the line to clear.
Lee Harrison did well to gather in Ben Austin’s long shot, before pushing away Simon Weatherstone’s effort from a similar range. As United failed to deal with the loose ball, it broke back to Weatherstone who fired just over from close range.
It was a corner routine which was eventually to unlock the United defence, Matt Crabb finding Matt Langston at the far post, his header back into the danger area being converted by Gary Elphick.
Moments later, United went close when Deen’s dangerous cross was almost put into his own net by Weatherstone under pressure from Elliott Buchanan. However, after Tom Cadmore saved a certain goal with a last ditch tackle on Pacquette with the goal gaping, Eastbourne were to use the exact same set piece routine which put them in front to score again, Crabb this time crossing from a free kick for Langston to head back across goal. Pacquette was the beneficiary on this occasion squeezing a shot in off the inside of the post.
Like last season, the goal before half time was to prove crucial. Daryl McLean replaced Buchanan at the break and immediately showed some neat footwork to go on a diagonal run but none of his teammates were alert enough to get into the danger area for his low centre.
Eastbourne, buoyed by their lead, went in search of extending it. Pacquette dispossessed Peter Holmes before firing wide from a good position. Treleaven also went close when his header beat Harrison but not Pritchard on the line.
United pushed forwards and Wright put a shot from the edge of the area wide after good build up play from Pritchard and James Mulley. However, Harrison was soon called upon again, this time to tip wide Elphick’s header which was going into the bottom corner before his diving intervention.
Elphick also went close with another header from a corner, his effort rising just too high.
An unfortunate ricochet for United put Pacquette through on goal in the 71st minute but Harrison gathered in his rather tame shot. However, Eastbourne were about to fire in a quick double to stretch the game beyond United’s reach. Treleaven once again tormented the United defence down the right wing before his cross was only half cleared and Matt Crabb was able to turn and fire the ball into the far corner.
Just a minute later it was 4-0 as Pacquette’s lofted pass was headed over Harrison and into the net by Jamie Taylor.
Mulley forced Banks into a save with an angled shot after good work by Pritchard. Wright also made the home keeper work but his downward header from Adam Green’s corner wasn’t too taxing. In the end though, Eastbourne were able to claim a fifth as a smart breakaway move involving Taylor and Matt Smart found Pacquette in acres of space to control the ball and fire it in back across Harrison.
Report by Nick Bell.
Photos by Ray Peploe.
United Man of the Match: Bradley Pritchard.