Gardner earns late Loxwood point

Eastbourne United manager Simon Rowland
Eastbourne United manager Simon Rowland

Loxwoord 2,

Eastbourne United 2

Mike Gardner’s last-gasp effort earned Eastbourne United a share of the spoils at Loxwood on Saturday.

Manager Simon Rowland said he expected it to be the toughest game of their season and it looked like they would have nothing to show from their efforts until Gary Pritchard looked to have stolen the points at the death.

His goal came after Mark Cave cancelled out Wes Tate’s opener, but United are in good form and United were well worth a point.

Loxwood are unbeaten at home in the league since September 16 but United started well with Tate going close along with Peter Cooper.

Chances came and went with neither goalkeeper really troubled but Tate opened the scoring in the 40th minute.

The midfielder latched onto a long kick from Russ Tanner and coolly lifted the ball into the net to score for the fourth consecutive Sussex Division One fixture. The lead lasted just a minute, though, as Cave thundered a header past Tanner from an outswinging corner.

The second half was just as even with Cave and his replacement Tim Martin firing over for the hosts.

United were forced into a defensive reshuffle after Brad Lewis and Adam Davidson came off injured.

And it looked to have taken its toll when Pritchard’s effort was deflected in with a minute left to play.

But United refused to give up and Mike Gardner reacted quickest to a loose ball from Tate’s corner and his effort squirmed under the hosts’ stopper. Final score: 2-2.

A rejuvenated United host title chasers Pagham at the Oval on Saturday

United Team: Tanner, Capon, Lewis (Corrigan), Stevens, Davidson (Gardner), Pollard, Taylor, Summerbell, Cooper, Tate, Geard (Jarvis).