Borough need to sharpen up - but QPR give them a double boost

Eastbourne Borough’s players have been challenged to sharpen up defensively as they bid to regain their early-season momentum.
Action from Borough's loss to Maidstone / Picture: Andy PellingAction from Borough's loss to Maidstone / Picture: Andy Pelling
Action from Borough's loss to Maidstone / Picture: Andy Pelling

But they have been boosted by news their two QPR loanees can stay for at least two more months.

Tuesday’s 3-2 home National South defeat to Maidstone was their third loss in four - though they now have a quick chance to get back on track. Their visit to Havant, postponed on January 2, has been rearranged for tomorrow after Havant's FA Trophy opponents were hit by Covid.

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It’s been a stop-start section of the season for the Sports, who were playing for the first time in more than three weeks when they took on the Stones, but they know that when they resume the campaign at home to Slough tomorrow week they will need to be tighter at the back.

Borough's two loan players from QPR will be staying at the Lane until at least the end of March. Full-back Kai Innocent and striker Charley Kendall, both 20, have been regulars in Danny Bloor's line-up since their debuts in October - when both players scored match-clinching penalties at Dorking in the FA Cup.

The QPR pair were watched on Tuesday night by an approving Paul Furlong, former Rangers striker and now under-23 coach. "We are really pleased with both players," said Furlong. "They are getting great experience and, by everything I hear, representing both our clubs with good sense and commitment. So it's a win for all parties!"

Coach Ben Austin said the start of the Maidstone match – when Borough took an early lead then quickly fell behind – was the oppsite of what they’d expected.

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“We’d had a fairly lengthy lay-off - it’s been the best part of four weeks for some of the lads - and we anticipated it might take us 15 or 20 minutes to get into the game,” he said.

“But we started really, really well. We looked sharp and we were passing the ball well and causing them problems. Then we got a goal that I felt was just reward for the start we’d made. But it went downhill fairly quickly.”

Austin was upset with the three goals Borough conceded, whuch meant strikes by Joel Roillinson and Chris Whelpdale counted for nothing.

“We have prided ourselves this year on being more solid and being harder to beat and it is very difficult to strike a balance between scoring goals and not conceding them.

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“We feel we have managed that reasonably well this season but all three goals were really disappointing from a defensive point of view.

“They’re quick and powerful going forward and what we saw from them was pretty much exactly what we expected.

“We just feel we didn’t defend well enough in the key moments in the game.”

Speaking before the Havant match was rearranged for this weekend, Austin said he’d rather the team didn’t now have a break of more than a week before their next game. “One of the key things we’ve spoken about a lot is momentum. We’d managed to gain some momentum this season.

“Then this lengthy break we’ve had - and there’s nothing anybody can do about it - it’s not helped. As footballers you want to be playing... you want the next game quickly.”