National League South: Wealdstone 0 Eastbourne 3
PUBLISHED: 21:15 01 December 2018 | UPDATED: 08:35 02 December 2018
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Ryan Hall scored a brace as Eastbourne Borough beat 10-man Wealdstone at The Vale, with the home side also failing to score from the spot.
It was one change but a huge change for Wealdstone from the FA Trophy win at Concord last Saturday with Reading short-term loanee Myles Roberts coming in for Jonathan North in goal. Elsewhere, 17-year-old Femi Azeez made his first squad appearance.
Eastbourne had the better of the possession in the first 10 minutes of the game, forcing two corners and letting their captain Sergio Torres roam into the final third.
Noticeably, Wealdstone had problems executing their route out to midfield with Borough pressing high to pile pressure on the young goalkeeper. But aside from a brilliant save from the 16-year-old, a morale-boosted Eastbourne side were piling the pressure on.
Stones were trying to work the ball forward with Danny Green and Fumnaya Shomotun running at defenders, but the first chance didn’t come until 21 minutes, when the two players combined with the latter hitting a tame shot straight at Mark Smith.
But the opening came immediately after, with a poor kick out from Roberts leaving Joel Rollinson free to run down the right side and cross for Ryan Hall to send his looping header in for 1-0.
The young goalkeeper was struggling with his kicks and it was proving detrimental for Stones.
And within three minutes Eastbourne had a two-goal lead as a goalmouth scramble resulted in the ball hitting the far post and shortly after a cross came in to Dean Cox who swept in past Roberts on 25 minutes.
It was looking dim for Stones, with second balls rarely being won in the midfield and over-commitment enabling players to skip past with ease and Eastbourne working shots and corners to expose the vulnerable youngster. However, the young goalkeeper was thrown into an extremely tough scenario.
The situation was looking horrendous as the game drifted into half time when Stones midfielder Christian Smith, challenging harshly on the halfway line, was shown a red card.
Danny Green gave Wealdstone real confidence at the start of the second half, whipping his free kick past Smith and off the outside of the post.
But Green nearly made a crucial mistake moments later, giving possession away just in front of the back four, fortunately Sergio Torres smashed over.
Substitute Bradley Bubb gave Stones a great opportunity by winning a penalty in the 57th minute when he was harshly fouled by Tom Ransom but Green’s spot-kick lead to a double save by Smith, getting down quickly to the rebound.
The introduction of talented youngster Femi Azeez and Jeffrey Monakana gave Stones more impetus going forward and both had good chances to halve the deficit.
But Azeez couldn’t reach Jerome Okimo’s cross and Monakana forced a terrific save onto the post after a rapid run into the 18 yard box.
After 75 minutes, Stones became extremely frustrated having not been able to take any of their good chances and Connor Stevens rose to flick his header over the bar from a corner but Eastbourne started to push for the killer goal.
It was almost a shoot on sight policy for Eastbourne and as they patiently held on for a perfect opportunity, as Stones’ placed their hope on centre-back Glenn Wilson sitting up front.
Eastbourne’s Hall scored his second of the match in the 88th minute to finish the game and claim all three points, curling his effort across Roberts into the far corner.
It was a dismal and frustrating afternoon for Wealdstone.
Wealdstone: Roberts, Tyler, Okimo, Stevens, Wilson, Poku, Shomotun, Smith, Pratt (Azeez 54), Green, Hudson-Odoi (Bubb 39, Monakana 60). Unused subs: Payne, Mensah.