Beavers held by Eastbourne in entertaining stalemate
By HRBFC Press Team
Heroics from visiting goalkeeper Mark Smith leaves Beavers frustrated
By Ben Morton
A hard-fought draw was played out at the Jezzards Beveree Stadium, which eases neither clubs fear of being dragged into a relegation battle considering their poor recent form.
Going into the match, a win appeared imperative for both teams but despite the importance of the fixture, chances were at a premium in the first half. A low drive by Marcel Barrington which was comfortably saved was the best it got for the Beavers.
The clearest opportunities fell to Brighton loanee Stefan Ljubicic. However, he could only direct a header straight at Tom Lovelock after a short corner routine, and subsequently hook a snap-shot effort just wide of the post minutes later.
After the interval, Hampton came out from the dressing room with real intent, only seeing Chris Dickson’s finish disallowed for handball when charging a clearance down in the build-up.
Moments later, on his home debut, Ruel Sotiriou’s quick feet allowed him to unleash a curling, deflected effort which was tipped over the bar by Mark Smith on his Eastbourne debut.
The away keeper was again called into action with an impressive double save, firstly pushing away another long-range Barrington drive, and then quickly recovering to palm Sam Cox’s rebound around the near post. There were further opportunities for Mclaren and Dickson, put their tame headers could only find the midriff of Smith once more.
Despite this pressure, Eastbourne were often dangerous themselves when going forward and Tom Gardiner had the best chance of the game but planted a free header wide from six yards that he should have buried.
With minutes left a poor clearance from Lovelock was nearly capitalised on by Ryan Hall, but his audacious forty-yard chip drifted just far wide of the post, meaning the points were shared.
After the full-time whistle, Gary expressed his pleasure in keeping a second consecutive sheet but was also keen to say how “clear it is to all that we are struggling in the attacking areas of the pitch, and the right decision making is not there.” With a week until yet another crucial match away at Oxford City, the hope is the Beavers can correct these issues on the training ground in order to gain a vital three points and ensure survival for this season.