The final game of Eastbourne Borough’s hectic holiday programme ended in a narrow defeat at Basingstoke Town on Sunday.
The crucial goal came on 70 minutes when a Borough attack broke down and the home side raced away on the counter, setting up substitute Shaun McAuley to fire in a low shot from just inside the area.
The game had been fast and open, with a clutch of good scoring chances for both sides. Basingstoke hit the woodwork twice in the first half and Sports keeper Lewis Carey twice pulled off great saves from Chris Flood, the Conference South’s top scorer.
But Borough had their own great chances, including early strikes from Nat Pinney and Frankie Raymond, both narrowly off target. And just after half-time home keeper Stuart Moore pulled off a quite incredible save to prevent Josh Hare from giving Borough the lead after a Raymond free-kick.
After McAuley’s goal, boss Tommy Widdrington threw on a fresh strike pair of Darren Lok and Gavin McCallum to try and wrest the initiative back. A difficult, cloying pitch hampered Borough’s passing game, but they still produced a spirited response, with no fewer than ten good attempts on goal in the final 20 minutes.
But in an exciting climax to an entertaining afternoon, Basingstoke held on to go third in the table - and the Sports have just a disappointing two points to show from their four holiday fixtures.