Yesterday, I’m not going to lie it was freezing, but the Beachboys served up a performance that warmed everyone of their supporters up. It should also be said that Eastbourne contributed to an excellent game of football that was a credit to the Conference South.
This was a game of chances, and when I say chances, I mean a lot of chances! In fact Concord scored with their first chance on five minutes. Taylor Miles playing in the number 10 role, found space about thirty yards from goal and played a slide rule pass to Dion Sembie-Ferris in the box, who laid the ball onto Tony Stokes who rode a challenge and slotted casually home from 10 yards. Stokes ran to the home fans, and celebrated with some kind of “eating soup” celebration. The talk amongst the home fans was “what on earth was that!”
Whilst the home fans were still musing on Stokes celebrations, Eastbourne hit the bar on seven minutes, Nat Pinney avoided a few challenges then with the outside of his boot fired in a shot. Vose was beaten in the Concord goal, but the ball hammered against the bar and away.
Eastbourne pressed again on ten minutes and from a corner it looked like Elliott Romain had a simple task to tap the ball home, but Bailey Vose pulled off a remarkable save to keep the ball out. It was an excellent reflex save. The Beachboys were still in front, but Eastbourne were doing everything but score.
The game ebbed and flowed, it was really end to end stuff. Both sides in the opposition half were playing really good football, and the next chance mid-way through the first half fell to Eastbourne. Nat Pinney was unmarked in the box, and it looked like all he had to do was head the ball home to level the match, but he plonked his header against the bar. Some wags amongst the home supporters, were saying that the man of the match so far was the crossbar.
The bar was rattled again on thirty minutes, but this time it lead to a goal. Lyle Delle-Verde picked the ball up thirty yards from goal and unleashed a strike at the Eastbourne goal, it hit the underside of the bar and bounced over the line from my vantage point. However like all good strikers, Tony Stokes wasn’t wondering if it was a goal or not, and forced the ball over the line. After a brief chat with a frozen linesman, he confirmed that the goal was indeed Tony Stokes. Stokes did not do a “eating soup” celebration this time.
Eastbourne deserved a goal in the 1st half, and they got one from a Concord corner kick on thirty-five minutes. The corner was safely gathered by Holmes in the Eastbourne goal, and from a quick throw out he found Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain. I wonder if he his called “The Ox” after his brother, it’s certainly quicker to type than his full name. Anyways “The Ox” was off. He sprinted down the right wing, outpaced the Concord defence and laid on a simple cross for Elliot Romain to tap home. Eastbourne were back in the game, with what was the last chance of an entertaining first half.
Concord Ranger 2 (Stokes 5,30)
Eastbourne Borough 1 (Romain 37)
The second half started in driving rain, and it appeared both managers had told their defences to sharpen up their game, as the second half was certainly tighter and less opportunities were being created in open play. In fact the first chance of the second half came from a set-piece on fifty-six minutes, and it was the Concord Rangers cross bar which came to the rescue again! Ian Simpemba the Eastbourne captain rose the highest from a corner and spanked his header against the Concord bar. Maybe the man of the match, was indeed the cross bar!
Both sides rung the changes, as Concord looked to add a third and Eastbourne pressed for an equaliser. Eastbourne so nearly got the equaliser on seventy-seven minutes, but Bailey Vose again pulled off a magnificent save to deny Mark Hughes. Vose when called upon was pulling saves out of the top-drawer, and the youngster on loan from Brighton certainly looks like he will play at a higher level in his career. However his excellence at present is certainly Concord’s gain.
The magnitude of that Vose save was exemplified two minutes later, when Concord bagged their third goal. A free kick was won twenty yards out from goal. From what has also been known as “Taylor Miles territory”. Miles stepped up, curled his free kick…like most shots in this match…it hit the bar! But following up was Steve King. He found the ball at his feet six yards from goal. I’m sure it crossed his mind, that he might head it in, but after a brief pause he rolled the ball home and Concord led 3-1.
Whilst that was the end of the scoring in the match, that was not the end of the action, as Eastbourne chucked men forward they were susceptible to a break-away, and indeed when a break was on Oxlade-Chamberlain earned his 2nd yellow of the game and was sent off on eighty-four minutes. The match ended with a lung busting run from Sembie-Ferris in injury time, he ran 50 yards with the ball, but as he approached on goal, he was probably knackered and his shot was saved by Holmes in the Eastbourne goal.
The final whistle was soon blown, and the Beachboys had gained three vital points to move themselves further away from the relegation zone.
Concord Rangers 3 (Stokes 5, 30 King 79)
Eastbourne Borough 1 (Romain 37)
Team – Vose, Girdlestone, Wyatt, McKenzie, White (c); Nasha (Sub King), Norman (Sub Collins), Sembie-Ferris, Delle-Verde; Miles, Stokes (Sub Cawley)
Subs not used – Young, Laucys.