Eastbourne Town vs. Eastbourne United

United clinch cup victory in derby

Words by Will Kirkup
Eastbourne Town 1-1 Eastbourne United Association (7-8 after penalties)

Ashley Crabb was the hero for Eastbourne United Association last night, as he scored the winning penalty kick to seal victory in the Sussex Under-23s Challenge Cup against rivals Eastbourne Town at Culver Road.

The substitute only featured because of an injury to Alfie Gander in the warm-up, but his composure in taking the winning spot kick ensured United added this competition to their title win in the Southern Combination Football League East, to continue an unbeaten run which stretches back to August last year.

Both sides were flawless for the first seven penalties, but Town’s Mykee Worman had his penalty saved by Mackay Msezanes, before Crabb coolly converted the winner.

United initially took the lead via a Josh Gould header, before Matthew Barbosa’s own goal brought Town level in a cagey affair.

Town had a slight edge in the early stages of the derby, with United stifled by the evening sunlight which shone directly on them.

Shaun Lee’s Eastbourne Town side had the first real opening when forward Sonny Walsh burst down the right-hand side and found a low cross which ultimately came to nothing.

Msezanes impressed as he dealt with a few of early crosses, given the sunlight, which made visibility a genuine issue.

Bailo Camara’s United continued to grow into the game, as Ed Ratcliffe dragged just wide from outside the 18-yard box.

They got the reward for their early pressure, taking the lead in the 23rd minute via Gould, who had a free header after he was picked out by Charlie Yeates’s well directed cross.

Town began to make some openings in the final 15 minutes of the half, as Walsh linked well with fullback Mackenzie Stiles down the right-hand side. 

But they lacked a cutting edge in the final third and failed to get their top goal scorer Pearson, who has 11 goals in 17 appearances this campaign, into the game.

The final few minutes of the first-half saw a couple of good chances for United, as Gould blazed over, before Kobe Agbude forced a superb Shay Hollobone save from close range.

But it was Town who got the next goal in the 45th minute from an in-swinging corner, which was diverted in by United defender Barbosa. 

Indeed, they nearly nicked the lead in the second minute of first-half injury time when Mackenzie Stiles and Walsh combined once more, but Walsh couldn’t quite gather the full-back’s low cross.

United came out the better of the sides after the break as both sides continued to put in some strong tackles, most notably from Anthony Gill and Mason Creese.

Town began to threaten, but both teams struggled to forge any obvious chances as the game approached the hour mark.

This was until Jake Prodger produced a magnificent towering header from a corner which had Hollobone at full stretch.

Crabb then had a glorious opportunity to put his side ahead when he blazed over from 12-yards-out, before Town’s Pearson had a superb chance two-minutes later; an excellent Msezanes denied him.

Despite a spell of United pressure, the side in yellow probably had the best opportunity for a winner in the 83rd minute, when Pearson led a counterattack and neatly found Walsh who blasted just wide seven minutes from normal time.

In the 89th minute United had a good opening themselves, but Gary Ingram was cynically brought down by Harry Murphy as he burst down the left flank.

The game inevitably needed a shootout to be settled, and United just about held their nerve to get over the line.

The winning boss, Camara, gave his thoughts on the final after full-time, stating: “As you can see it was a game of two halves. In the first we were on top, we created a few chances, and in the second, Eastbourne Town came out the other side and could have won the game in the 90 minutes.

“But we were strong, we managed to defend their good spell and then obviously when it comes to penalties it’s all about the lucky ones isn’t it. Every penalty being taken was really good until one of the keepers made a good save.

“But well done to the boys for keeping their composure, being able to defend, when it needed to be done.

“Ashley [Crabb] had an amazing season for us considering it was his first at the club, and taking the last penalty is a big pressure, especially for such a young boy, and I think he took it really well to give us the win!”

(A selection of photographs can be found on Facebook - courtesy of Simon Roe Photography)

Stats (Eastbourne Town-Eastbourne United Association): Goals (1-1), Shots (8-13), Shots on target (2-6), Corners (4-6), Fouls (18-19), Offsides (5-1), Yellow cards (3-1), Red cards (0-0).

Eastbourne Town: Hollobone (GK) (C), Stiles, Myall, Davies, Murphy, Connolly, Crowhurst, Gill, Pearson, Worman, Walsh.
Subs: Howard, Galt, Sheppard, Burke, Cherryman.

Eastbourne United Association: Msezanes (GK), Barbosa, Yeates (C), Agbude, Headland, Prodger, Crees, Ratcliffe, Gould, Ingram, Thompson.
Subs: Storey, Kartal, Crabb, Funnell, Pittam.

Related Match Reports

View All