1'S CLOSE GAP ON TOP 4
By Edd Thorogood
Key win for 1st XI on the South Coast
The question was whether Blackheath could continue their unbeaten run into the 3rd month of the year? The trains had already played havoc with preparations as Southern Rail decided to run rail replacement buses for the longest away trip of the season so a trip down the A21 it was for all the boys.
The game started with a bang. A young and dynamic Eastbourne side were clearly up for a challenge and flew out the blocks causing chaos as Blackheath battled against the wind. They spurned a flurry of early opportunities assisted by the imperious James Craigmyle who eventually let one in as a deflected shot found the top left hand corner. The signs were ominous but recent form suggested that this wouldn’t necessarily be a sign of things to come. Sure enough it wasn’t. A bursting run from Burnham secured the first shortie of the game which the returning Chris Harden dispatched with ease. An incredible 15 minutes would follow. Four more opportunities were created, all clinically taken. Eastbourne’s defence couldn’t live with Dave Lawrence’s 50-yard dash, two goal line scraps led to Josh Self bumbling a ball in and another goal mouth scrap led to a post-match debate regarding whether Joe Allen added to his earlier reverse finish or whether Chris had the final touch. The icing on the cake was a now trademark silky smooth run from right back Luke Bowman. He popped the ball over the defenders stick and hit it first time on his reverse into the bottom right hand corner. All of a sudden it 5-1 at half time.
It is safe to say that the team were not used to being in this position but it’s one that they would happily indulge in on a more regular basis. The second half did not bring more of the same as the game lost some its bite. A unique event occurred where 3 BE runners all got sent to the halfway line from a short corner leading to a p flick to make it 5-2. Some defensive work on the line prevented Eastbourne from getting three but it was a relatively stress free second half which made for a nice change.
West Hampstead, 4th position, lost which means the 1s are now 4 points behind promotion with 4 games to play. All to play for as the Meadow hosts top of the league Guildford next Saturday.