The U18’s finally played their first match against Eastbourne Borough away at Priory Lane since the somewhat controversial double header against Rye on the 3rd March.
Bradley Curl came into the centre of defence, because of Kieron Austin’s suspension, joining Daniel Green in the centre, with Tom Turner and Fenton Boakes on the flanks in front of Luke Vidler in goal.
Toby Cane, Shaun Tait, Harry Millar, Frazer Johnstone and Ian Robinson made up the midfield with Jonno Bennett being the lone striker.
We knew that Borough preferred to play the ball on the ground and the team was instructed to match them in this respect and to be patient and not be afraid to pass the ball around while looking for an opportunity to go forward.
The early exchanges were good and our first opportunity came after just 3 minutes following great play by Ian taking the ball down the right side before crossing to Harry whose shot went over the goal.
Borough responded straight away and scored their first goal by sending a ball over the top for their forward to run onto and score. This tactic they used several times throughout the first half and initially we were caught out but slowly we settled and coped much better against this style.
Luke’s ball distribution was very good allowing the defence and midfield to keep more control of the ball.
Our midfield were very much in this match with Toby, Frazer and Shaun battling the centre area and Ian and Harry making several runs on the flanks to create chances.
It was one of these runs by Harry that led to our equalizer. He took the ball down the right side and sent over a cross that went to Shaun who met the ball on the volley and scored with a brilliant shot that their keeper could not have seen. Even the Borough management applauded this goal.
Borough took control of the game for a 15 minutes spell and we had to dig deep and defend but we came through it and towards half time were competing again. 1-1 at half time.
The team was instructed to continue to play the way we had but to watch for any change in their tactics and respond accordingly. They obviously had listened because we were on the front foot from the off competing again and playing the ball around and creating opportunities for further goals.
Indeed we went ahead when Bradley won the ball in defence and moved forward releasing the ball to Ian who passed onto Toby who released the ball to Harry to score, a great team goal.
Borough were behind and they responded and scored the equalizer within a few minutes.
The game was evenly contested in all areas of the pitch but our lack of match football started to catch up with the players resulting in Max Stevens coming on for Toby, Jordan Burstow for Jonno and William Herriott for Shaun.
The winning goal came from Borough and despite a great effort from all of the team we did not manage to score an equalizer of our own.
The whole team can feel very proud of their performance despite the defeat. Indeed the Borough management complemented the team by stating that we were the best side they had faced all season.
Luke Vidler, Thomas Turner, Daniel Green (c), Bradley Curl, Fenton Boakes, Ian Robinson, Shaun Tait (William Herriott), Frazer Johnstone, Toby Cane (Max Stevens), Harry Millar, Jonno Bennett (Jordan Burstow).
Man of the Match: Thomas Turner.