Broadbridge Heath 1-4 Eastbourne Town
Prodigal Son Returns
The score suggests this was a fairly comfortable afternoon for promotion hopefuls Eastbourne Town but the main difference between the two sides on this occasion was some clinical finishing by the opposition strikers.
There was a familiar face in the Heath lineup with striker Tiago Andrade back at the club that he first joined in 2012 before leaving last season for spells at Horsham, Haywards Heath, Loxwood and Shoreham and another player making a welcome return was that of Stuart Chester back from a hamstring injury to make his first appearance since the 9th December.
Being a Saturday you can of course almost guarantee that it’s going to be raining and having successfully passed two pitch inspections in the morning it then started raining and the torrential rain continued throughout the afternoon.
The visitors had the first sight of goal in the 10th minute when the ball was played in from the right to Layton Schaaf some 12 yards from goal but the striker failed to hit the target putting his first time effort wide of Michael Chester’s left-hand post.
Despite the dreadful conditions the game was quite entertaining and flowed from end to end, midway through the half a Tom Bold corner was cleared as far as George Cousins on the edge of the penalty area but his right foot shot was blocked on the goal-line. Minutes later Andrade split the Eastbourne defence with an inch perfect through-ball into the path of Cousins who shrugged off a defender and slotted past the advancing Eastbourne keeper, Greg Nessling but the ball went agonisingly wide of the far post.
Chris Cumming-Bart then tried his luck with a free-kick for Eastbourne just outside the penalty area but he picked out Michael Chester who saved comfortably on the line.
A minute before the break a mix-up in the Heath defence between Michael Chester and Jamie Robinson who both hesitated to clear the ball and Cumming-Bart took full advantage to stretch out a leg and knock the ball into the empty goal. Heath still had time to respond before the break when Andrade’s free kick from 20 yards dipped over the defensive wall but was saved on the line by Nessling.
Heath were soon back on level terms when play resumed with Andrade and Scott Weller interchanging passes in midfield before sending Robinson scampering down the left flank, the full-back played a superb ball into the penalty area where Javlon Campbell met it in his stride to hammer the ball past Nessling into the back of the net for a well deserved equaliser.
Town hit back in the 55th minute with their next meaningful attack when Evan Archibald got on the end of a long ball to place a header wide of Chester in the goal. Andrade then hit the top of the bar with a header from a Tom Bold corner before Layton Schaaf made it 3-1 to the visitors when he ran with pace at the defence before unleashing a shot that gave Chester no chance.
The visitors completed the scoring deep into time added on by which time the pitch looked in a sorry state, the ball was played along the ground to Michael Chester but it held up in the mud and Aaron Capon took full advantage to pounce on the ball and knock it past Chester.
Strange to say after a 4-1 home defeat but a much improved performance over the midweek defeat at Horsham YMCA, the score certainly flattered the visitors but the Bears should take encouragement from their performance and with players coming back into the side from injury we should start seeing an improvement in results.
Next up Arundel away on the 17th, don’t forget your wellies.
Team: M. Chester, Martin, Robinson, Findlay, Flack, Howard-Bold, S.Chester (Griffin 75), Weller (Fuller 80), Cousins (Nezval 82), Campbell.