Eastbourne Town 3 Guernsey 3
Ryman Isthmian League - Division 1 South
Tuesday 10th December 2013 at The Saffrons
Town have a corner in Eastbourne Town v Guernsey
I’ve read just a few of the many and varied works of the French intellectual John-Paul Sartre. I read Sartre’s 'Being and Nothingness' in the 1980s and looking back it reminds me of the 4-4-2 formation popular at the time – boring and impenetrable. Reading his novel Nausea was like watching Rodney Marsh – you knew you were in the presence of genius but wondered if it ultimately led to anything constructive. Sartre is known for one quote about football which goes, "In football everything is complicated by the presence of the other team". This is a classic existential statement and it doesn’t surprise me that the most intellectual of Premier managers, the French Arsene Wenger, has often been criticised in the past for a team that plays the ball between themselves beautifully but can fail to engage the opposition productively. This criticism can’t be made of either team in the Eastbourne Town v Guernsey match that was a classic of lower league application and adventure that enthralled and entertained the spectators at The Saffrons on a cold Tuesday night.
The start of the match was slightly delayed due to Guernsey’s late arrival. This is only Guernsey’s third season playing in a league on the mainland and there has been much debate about the practicalities of this, however there can little doubt that the Green Lions brought a little welcome glamour to this fixture. Guernsey regularly gets over a thousand fans to home games and it would seem churlish not to welcome such a well supported side at this level of football. Eventually, with the town hall clock inching towards 8pm, the referee looked around the icy pitch, harshly lit under the glare of the floodlights, and blew his whistle to start the game. Eastbourne seemed to settle into the game quicker, so slightly against the run of play, Guernsey took the lead on 15 minutes through the young striker Matt Loaring who showed great close control before finding the back of the net. Guernsey’s lead was brief however and the irrepressible Billy Medlock equalised for Eastbourne on 18 minutes.
Both sides looked like they wanted a win and there were chances for both sides; but it was Ross Allen for Guernsey who netted next on 32 minutes. Allen has a frankly amazing scoring record – he has averaged over a goal a game in the last few seasons and this was his 100th game for the Channel Islanders. Indeed it was only eight minutes later that Allen scored again putting Guernsey 3-1 up, a lead that they held until half time. Mahon for Guernsey had been bullish in midfield, picking up a yellow card after only 6 minutes, but he was instrumental in both Allen’s goals. A final chance for Eastbourne in injury time was sadly wasted as it was skied over the bar. The first half was Guernsey’s, though injury to two of their players, which meant they had to use two of their substitutes early in the game, may have affected their ability to manage the game in the second half.
With a small amount of hazy mist starting to drift across the pitch and the white frost on the grass white and crisp in the floodlights the stage was set for a classic second half. From the minute the whistle went to start the half Eastbourne slowly took control of the midfield, with Matt Hall seemingly winning the ball everywhere. Eastbourne looked to move the ball to both wings but the final cross either didn’t come or was not of the quality needed to breakdown the stubborn Guernsey defence. However the pressure finally told on 53 minutes with a lovely finish by Billy Medlock from inside the box to make it 3-2. Medlock is a natural goal scorer and poacher - given half a chance in the box he will put it away. With Eastbourne sensing they were on for a comeback they pushed on again winning a series of corners. From one of these, yes it’s that man again, Billy Medlock gets a flick at the near post and the ball flies across the goal into far side of the net to make it all equal at 3-3. A well deserved hat-trick for Medlock.
It looked like Eastbourne’s to win now but real chances went begging. Guernsey did well to hang on and started to try to and hit Eastbourne on the break. One such led to a free kick for them just outside of the box, but Allen’s free kick dipped narrowly over the bar. With minutes to go Allen had another chance brilliantly saved by Eastbourne keeper James Broadbent. A loss at this point would have been cruel, indeed Eastbourne deserved the win for their brave second half performance. All round a great match that warmed all watching on a cold and frosty evening - a credit to both teams – and to quote that great French philosopher Arsene Wenger, “The imprint you make in the spirit of the people is more important than the result.”
The draw lifts Town off the bottom of the table and we are still in a very tricky situation, but if the second half of this match is anything to go by I believe everyone can see we are making progress under a hard working and talented young manager. More of the same please starting at Redhill on Saturday!
EASTBOURNE TOWN: Broadbent Lansdale Sutton Battie Davidson Pollard Hall Berry Mensah Medlock Watson SUBS: Vaughan Baptise Schaaf Salami Reid
GUERNSEY: Creed Isabelle Martin Mackay Dodd Mahon McGrath Rihoy Heaume Allen Loaring SUBS: Geall Hutton Pereira Hale
Man of the Match: It may seem perverse not to choose Billy Medlock for a magnificent hat-trick but this week the nod goes to Matt Hall for complete commitment in midfield.
Teams for Eastborne Town v Guernsey
Eastbourne Town in action against Guernsey
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Eastbourne Town 3
Tuesday 10 December
Compton Place Road
Under 16s get in free for league games but are charged £2 for cup games
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