There were four changes to the team which so dramatically clinched victory at Dartford on Saturday; newest member Conrad Honore earning a maiden competitive start and Joe Rye, James Beresford and Nodirbek Bobomurodov all recalled. That left Cam Tutt, Dan Bowry and Sammie McLeod on the subs’ bench, at least to begin with.
Bank Holiday Monday’s match saw former Reds Supremo Danny Bloor return to Woodside as Kane Wills and Beresford also prepared to face their former club.
Both sides took a while to get going, so chances of any kind were hard to come by until almost midway through the opening period.
A terrific run down the middle by Miquel Scarlett had seen him initially pounce on a misplaced midfield pass intended for Reece Myles-Meekums, before he glided to the right and broke into the box where a sliding Rye was there to end hopes of something more. Honore completed the clearance.
Bobomurodov made everyone wait when he prepared to take a free-kick, given for a foul on the man himself by Elliott Romain, only for the anticipation to prove to be a false dawn when he anti-climatically fired straight into the hands of the guest’s goalkeeper Lee Worgan.
Fortunately though his next significant contribution carried a far greater threat.
An excellent counter-attack resulted in Joel Colbran slipping in the Uzbekistani winger who proceeded to draw a top stop out of Worgan, with Scarlett defeating the Mysterons via the power of a header behind for a corner.
Nods dragged his effort wide of the near post from the subsequent set-piece but a dead-ball delivery helped (James) Hammond edge the Yellows in front half-an-hour in.
Harrison Male guarded one upright while the defensive wall he’d lined up protected the other. Not that it could prevent the Borough man bending an attempt around the human structure to tip the balance in the traveller’s favour.
Reds responded via Ollie Pearce, in a similar position up the other end, shanking wide of the target approaching the interval.
Whatever they put in the half-time tea very nearly had the desired effect in the first five minutes of the second forty-five.
Myles-Meekums’ left wing flag-kick found a route all the way to a lurking Bobomurodov on the edge of the area, which flew a fraction over the top on impact.
Our eminent number eleven took the following corner himself and sent in a cross-cum-shot that simply required a grain or two of pepper to catch the breeze and divert it’s path away from the pallett of chips below, towards the nose of Rye. A sneeze certainly appearing sufficient to change the outcome from a goal-kick to a goal.
Or, failing that, we need someone with a bigger nose.
EB came close to adding to their tally when Shiloh Remy cut in off the right and entered the eighteen yard box, only to see his shot pick up a hefty deflection off Aarran Racine to provide Male with a comfortable gather.
On the hour, the team from Priory Lane were reduced to ten thanks to the robust Romain taking exception to Bobomurodov’s challenge by throwing his arm back in his “assailant’s” face. The referee clearly calling NB’s attempt at winning possession a firm but fair one, although not accepting the visiting striker’s version of events, as Worthing’s wing wonder went off with a damaged conk to the safety of the dugout on one side of the pitch, while Romain enjoyed an early shower in the inner sanctum of the dressing room, on the opposite.
Decent build-up play led to Pearce turning and blasting past the post and a partial clearance resulted in Honore’s effort taking a touch, as it went over the bar for a further flag-kick, with time running ever closer to out for the homesters to salvage something from the match.
Then, inspiration by Hinshelwood, not a new fragrance but a piece of tactical ingenuity from the Worthing Manager brought Tutt into the action in place of Wills. Tutty immediately went over to the corner flag, not to pray – well, maybe a quick one – but deliver a dead ball, just in front of it, that a deep lying Colbran headed back into the danger zone and Kealy nodded in from close-range.
A shell-shocked Eastbourne still sourced enough composure however to allow recent replacement Chris Whelpdale to drive to the byline and fizz a low cross towards the six yard box. Male heeded the warning signs though, intercepting and clutching to ensure the ball ended up in his hands and not his net.