Bexhill College in association with Eastbourne Borough Football Club and Chelsea Football Club Foundation gained a share of spoils when drawing 2-2 away at Eastleigh in the National Alliance Under 19 League.
On a glorious day for football both teams served up an entertaining encounter filled with talking points which ultimately left both teams frustrated that they did not take all 3 points.
The first half was filled with action with Eastleigh looking to cause problems in wide areas and winning several corners without troubling Ethan Doidge in the Eastbourne goal who was only forced into one save in the opening 45 minutes thanks to some organised and defensive play from the players in front of him.
With Eastleigh enjoying the lion’s share of possession, Eastbourne counter attacked well with the threat of Charlie Gibson and Fletcher Holman and took the lead when Holman raced onto a through ball from Alfie Simmons to finish neatly under the onrushing goalkeeper after 20 minutes. The lead was doubled on the stroke of half time with the same combination of Simmons and Holman combining to send Eastbourne into the half time break 2-0 up.
The second half continued in much the same vein and Eastbourne were unlucky to not extend the lead further when a Charlie Gibson shot from 30 yards brushed the post.
Eastleigh pulled a goal back with 20 minutes remaining with a low shot beating Doidge from the edge of the area to set up a tense finale. Eastbourne were dealt a huge blow when keeper Doidge was forced off following a collision with an Eastleigh attacker meaning that striker Holman had to go in goal for the remaining 15 minutes. To his credit, Holman produced some good saves before being beaten in the 95th minute for the points to be shared.
Eastbourne coach Sean Noble reflected, “Our performance merited better than what we got from the game especially in light of the injuries we suffered and one or two refereeing decisions which in another day could have seen the opponents reduced to 10 or 9 men. For me that was our most mature performance of the season with the players showing excellent battling qualities to frustrate our opponents for long periods.”
Player of the match was awarded to Fletcher Holman for the combination of 2 goals and a cameo in goal.
Eastbourne team: Doidge, Graves, Moir, Duah, Perry, Spice, Jack, Tarrant, Simmons, Holman, Gibson.
Subs: Taylor, Oughton
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