With the Clarets continuing the unbeaten start down in Dorset, it was back home for another game, just 48 hours later. It was Eastbourne Borough, the Sports, who travelled to Essex, looking to end their barren run of 3 losses in a row. In a close-knit affair, it was the Clarets who came out on top. 1 strike made the difference, with the Clarets being on the right end of the score line.
With 5 changes made on Saturday, there was more rotation to the starting lineup as 4 players came in today. Clarets captain Dave Winfield dropped to the bench, seeing Jazzi Barnum-Bobb take the armband and drop into defence. Another Saturday scorer was involved in a change, as Freddie Hockey was another put to the bench, seeing Adam Mills come in. It was Dabre and Carruthers who came into the midfield, with Ruff dropping out. Finally, Callum Jones led the line, following his goal from the bench against Weymouth. Mo Bettamer was joined by Winfield, the returning Wordsworth, Hockey and Ruff amongst the substitutes.
It was the travelling Eastbourne who got the game underway, as they instantly looked to cause problems down the Clarets’ left-hand side, before seeing their attack thistle out for a goal kick. Following a ravenous performance on Saturday, the Clarets looked to follow suit as they started on the front foot, looking to get forward against Eastbourne in the early stages. However, it was nearly a problem caused by the Clarets that opened the scoring. Jazzi Barnum-Bobb sent a ball back to Josh Oluwayemi who sliced his pass towards Brookes, seeing Arsenal Loanee Billy Vigar look to pounce, before Brookes smashed clear.
With neither side being able to create a concrete chance, the Clarets gifted one to the visitors, with Barnum-Bobb giving away a free kick on the edge of the box. Decarrey Sheriff and Sam Beard stood over it, with latter striking, low and under the wall. A scuffed effort, it simply bobbled past the post and out for a goal kick, the closest either side had come to goal in the first 18 minutes. The Clarets looked to get themselves chances, as the built well and picked up a corner, for Ben Brookes to take. It was taken short, with a routine clear, but only brought an Eastbourne goal kick.
The best chance for the Clarets fell to number 7, Mo Dabre. Some good work by Jermaine Francis and Samir Carruthers won the ball back, enabling a ball forward. It was long but only to Dudzinski, where he presented the ball straight to Dabre. Taking a touch, he set himself and looked to plant the ball into the bottom right corner, but only saw it come off the inside of the post and back to Dudzinski’s hands, rather luckily for the Sports. Being involved again, Carruthers galloped forward and was able to win a free kick, deep in the Eastbourne half. A good crossing opportunity, he delivered but the flick at the front post was from an opposition player, which brought a corner. Brookes was across to take where his delivery was cleared, but to Callum Watts. He flicked the ball back into the box, seeing it miss everyone as it went through and out for an Eastbourne throw in.
With the half nearing a close, Eastbourne were able to get the ball down and drive. It was Leone Gravata who drove at the Clarets defence, before his attempted cross was knocked behind by Luke Jenkins. It was Gravata over the ball, with his delivery deep and out for a goal kick, with no-one able to reach it. With neither side causing any trouble, we ticked into the 3 minutes of added time, where Eastbourne almost got a great chance. Sheriff got the better of Brookes and was able to pick out Vigar perfectly. However, looking to hit it first time, he misjudged to ball and kicked over it, giving Callum Watts enough time to clear the ball, clearing any danger. As all 3 were up, referee Oliver Mackey allowed Eastbourne a final chance, where Sam Beard put a cross in, only to be cleared by Luke Jenkins. With the Clarets clearing, the goalless first half was brought to a close.
HALF TIME: CCFC 0-0 EBFC
The Clarets got the game back underway, with either side looking to break the deadlock in this stalemate. After getting forward from the start, a free kick was won by Eastbourne. Sam Beard delivered with no Chelmsford player getting anything on it, including the onrushing Josh Oluwayemi, leaving an open chance for Freddie Carter. He headed down, but across the goal and wide as Carter somehow missed from 6 yards out, the open goal. The Clarets got away with one, but not lightly as Jazzi Barnum-Bobb was down and moving very gingerly following treatment. It was set pieces causing the problems, as Eastbourne came close from a corner. Delivered to the back post, it was almost headed across and in but for a vital interception, sent away for another corner. No danger came from the next, as the Clarets retained possession.
The chances kept on coming for the travelling Eastbourne, with this time Sheriff the culprit for the miss. Bradley Barry played it wide and Leone Gravata’s ball across was excellent, to find the unmarked Sheriff. His first-time effort was too high as, from just 10 yards out, he skewed his effort over the bar. The Clarets looked to come forward for the first time in the game, as they had been defending from the start of the half. Jenkins played a great, cross-pitch ball to Adam Mills. A great touch brought it down out the sky where he delivered towards Callum Jones. Jones rose, winning the header but not being able to send it at the goal.
With the scores still level, Robbie turned to his bench. After going down earlier, Barnum-Bobb was replaced, seeing Winfield come on into the defence. As well as that, Mo Dabre, who was on a booking, came off and Charlie Ruff was sent on looking to continue his fine form. That he did exactly. The Clarets took the lead. With the ball going out, Brookes was on it, grabbing the ball and throwing straight to Samir Carruthers. He flicked it into the box where Charlie Ruff was. He may claim it as a pass, but Ruff’s shot went straight to Jermaine Francis who’s cool, composed finish, in acres of space slotted straight under Dudzinski and into the back of the net. Running away to celebrate, Bradley Barry was clearly unhappy, as he tried to prohibit the Clarets players from celebrating and a scuffle almost ensued. The referee and Dave Winfield were the peacemakers, with Mills and Barry being the ones to enter the book.
The visitors’ intentions were clear now. They had scrapped their waiting around tactic as they looked to go direct. Oluwayemi was called into action when Sheriff latched onto a long ball. From the right, he was up against Brookes, but he couldn’t prevent the cross, which was deflected towards Oluwayemi, who pounced and prevented any danger. The attacks continued down the right-hand side, with Sheriff the troublemaker. Gravata’s ball was not intercepted by Brookes as it went through to Sheriff. Holding the ball up, he allowed Brookes to get back, which he did well and cleaned up his mess.
As we entered the final 10 minutes, the Clarets had defending to do. Eastbourne looked to throw players forward and play on the attack, which almost played to their disadvantage. Ruff was away on the counterattack, but with no one in support had to hold up the play. He was able to send a long ball, towards Jones. It was too deep unfortunately as Eastbourne got themselves a goal kick. Eastbourne continued to look dangerous, and managed to win themselves a free kick, once again on the edge of the box. Jenkins the offender with Beard, Barry and Paxman stood over the ball. It was the third who struck, a great effort. Up over the wall, it looked destined to draw the tie level only for Josh Oluwaeymi to dive across for a fantastic save.
Eastbourne’s keeper, Ben Dudzinksi was called into action the other end, as there was a counter. It ended with a Mills cross, where Ruff’s effort was saved well. 6 minutes were indicated as added on, with the corner then delivered but cleared. The best form of attack was defence as the cliché goes, but the Clarets emphasised that. Another corner came after Francis twisted and turned against Gravata. The delivery was from the other former Hashtag man, where a Claret header only brought another. However, this time Dudzinski caught well. The visitors got forward and, once again, were awarded a free kick. Beard was the taker, and it went all the way through before being flicked behind by an Eastbourne player.
With the allocated 6 up, Eastbourne were on borrowed time, before 1 final clearance saw the whistle and another win for the Clarets. It was a singular goal, but enough to wrap up the 3 points and send the Clarets fans home happy, on the sunny bank holiday Monday.
FULL TIME: CCFC 1-0 EBFC
Oluwayemi (GK), Brookes, Ebuzoeme, Dabre (Ruff 61’), Carruthers (Bettamer 73’), Mills, Jenkins, Jones, Barnum-Bobb (Winfield 61’), Francis, Watts
Unused subs: Wordsworth, Hockey
Goal: Francis 64’
Assist: Ruff 64’
Cautions: Dabre 12’, Barnum-Bobb 39’, Mills 64’, Jones 87’
Dudzinski (GK), Procter, Barry (C), Clarke, Paxman, Sheriff (Bridgman 82’), Beckford (Holman 68’), Carter (Quick 59’), Gravata, Vigar, Beard
Unused subs: Leslie, Kasim
Cautions: Proctor 33’, Sheriff 53’, Barry 64’, Beard 77’
Words By Josh Lowe
Cover image by Roger Robinson Photography