Hutchinson’s double earns Eastbourne Borough a(nother) superb win at Ebbsfleet

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It only seemed like yesterday that Eastbourne Borough had been at Ebbsfleet’s Kuflink stadium for an FA Trophy second round clash that had seen them run out 1-0 winners.

It had actually been 24 days and this time the temperature had dropped significantly and the pitch was surrounded by snow.

A 3:30 pitch inspection by the referee Matthew Norton put the game on and the Borough players began their journey to Kent from the coast.

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League leaders Ebbsfleet had gone to monumental efforts to get the game on and full credit to the club, their staff and their volunteers who had done an amazing job. The pitch looked superb.

Celebrations for Borough at Ebbsfleet | Picture: Lydia RedmanCelebrations for Borough at Ebbsfleet | Picture: Lydia Redman
Celebrations for Borough at Ebbsfleet | Picture: Lydia Redman

The game started like a game of table tennis and the ball pinged up and down the pitch with the first real chance of the game coming for Ebbsfleet just before the 10 minute mark but the Borough defenders weren’t troubled and cleared their line with ease.

Borough’s first real chance then came for James Vaughan around the 15-minute mark but his shot hit the side netting.

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The ball travelled up and down the pitch from keeper to keeper with nothing much between the two teams, and it looked like it was going to be a tense but uneventful freezing cold night.

Around the half hour mark the home side appealed for a penalty as Sterling went down in the box but referee Norton reached for his pocket to book the Fleet player for simulation. This was met with loud protests from the Ebbsfleet bench and resulted in Fleet manager Kutrieb being spoken to by Norton.

Around the 40-minute mark, minutes after Jake Hutchinson’s one on one with the keeper had been saved, the subsequent corner led to Borough’s deserved reward. Chris Whelpdale cut the ball back for Hutchinson to finish in the far corner, giving the keeper no chance.

No sooner had the game resumed than Lee Worgan had made a save.

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The second half started much like the first had ended. The Borough defence of Dickenson, Burchell, Innocent and Vaughan stood firm and were just too tough an obstacle for Fleet to get through – and when they did Worgan was there to stop the shots, pulling out some magnificent saves.

Boro’s midfielders continued to move the ball quickly up the pitch and on the break in the 81st minute Borough wrapped up the game. Hutchinson was again the man at the centre of it as he ran on to a ball by Whelpdale and diverted a well-taken shot the wrong side of Cousins.

Borough dug deep and in the last minute of the six minutes of added time Worgan produced a fingertip save to tip the ball over the bar.

As the final whistle blew the Borough bench leapt up in delight.

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The majority of Borough fans had made the wise decision to stay at home and not face the freezing temperatures and icy roads but those that did brave it had witnessed a truly magnificent team performance and a much deserved win.

Boss Danny Bloor said “I thought every player, to a man, was outstanding and fought for our football club tonight. I couldn’t be any more proud of my players.”

EBFC: Worgan, Burchell, Innocent, Dickenson, Perez, Hammond, Whelpdale, Remy (Luer 64), Vaughan, Gravata, Hutchinson (Adjei-Hersey 90). Subs: Holter, Pinto, Holman

Attendance: 604

Player of the match: Jack Burchell