Hungerford skipper Matt Day challenges Eastbourne's Elliott Romain as his side loses for the first time this season
Hungerford Town 0 Eastbourne Borough 2
HUNGERFORD’S unbeaten start to National League life wss blown away as a wind and rainswept Bulpit Lane as Eastbourne plotted and potted the goals that counted.
Hungerford had the chances that might have saved the game, but for more than an hour, they laboured to establish any sort of rhythm and the Sussex side establisehd a deserved lead they were able to cling to with a little help from their defence, referee Adam Ricketts and Hungerford’s poor finishing.
“I thought we were taught a lesson in the second half today,” said manager Bobby Wilkinson. “Not in competing, but in knowing how to win and Eastbourne did to us away what we have been doing to teams for years and years. It’s taught me a lesson.
“I don’t want to make the referee an excuse,” he added, “But he was so far off the pace it wasn’t true. Harry Goodger was about to shoot and the defender has pulled him back and the referee ignored it.
“But I accept it. That’s what happens in football and it’s how we bounce back now.”
There was plenty of bounce in a first half that saw driving wind and rain slam shut on any footballing intent with neither side able to settle into a pattern, with Borough launching the ball with the wind and Hungerford attempting to hammer the ball forward into it, and coping with, rather than conquering the conditions was the main intention.
Only two chances were created, and maybe both should have been taken. Elliott Romain missed a free header entirely when Gavin McCallum’s deep cross found him unmarked on the edge of the six yard box after 27 minutes.
And Hungerford replied in kind nine minutes later when Josh Hare felled Nicholas Bignall and James Clark’s free kick was headed just wide by Nat Jarvis when well-placed.
But conditions eased for a spell after the break and Borough took advantage when Nat Pinney gave Mike Jones the slip and calmly teed up Elliot Romain to drive the ball after 53 minutes.
Hungerford had an equalising chance that substitute Stefan Brown hooked over, but were soon further adrift when Pinney again did the donkey work to set up Alex Smith, and although Legg blocked his shot, Romaine pounced for his with 17 minutes to go.
Hungerford tried to salvage something and goalkeeper Lewis Carey saved from Jones and too easily from Brown, while Rhys Tyler, Goodger and Brown again could not force the ball over the line in one scramble.
Brian Dutton cleaned out Goodger when he was taking aim, and that was it as Hungerford tasted defeat at the new level for the first time.
Hungerford Town: Legg; Tyler, Day, Jones, John; Clark, Herring, Williams; Jarvis (Goodger 66), Preen, Bignall (Brown 66). Subs: Boardman, Rees, Rusby.
Eastbourne Borough: Carey; Hare, Khinda-John, Dutton; Aziaya (Baptista 63), McCallum, Stone, Worrall; Taylor (Smith 19), Romain (Varouxakis 81); Pinney. Subs: Uade, Tate.
Referee: Adam Ricketts (Bristol). Attendance: 212.