Eastbourne Borough FC V Chelmsford City FC, National League South, Priory Lane, Saturday 17th February 2024, 3pm kick-off.

Chelmsford City travel to Sussex on Saturday to face relegation-threatened Eastbourne Borough.

After starting February with a frustrating defeat at the hands of Havant & Waterlooville, the Clarets returned to winning ways last weekend by beating Weymouth 1-0. City climbed back into 3rd place in the National League South table after beating the Terras, and Simpson’s side will hope to consolidate that position by securing a 10th away league win of the season this weekend.

Hosts Eastbourne will return to action for the first time in 14 days when Saturday’s game kicks off; the Sports’ scheduled trip to Truro last weekend was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch at Wordsworth Drive.

After beating Farnborough in their previous outing at Priory Lane, the Sports are looking to win back-to-back home league matches for the first time this season, something Adam Murray’s side desperately need to do if they are to reduce the six-point deficit between themselves and safety from the drop zone.

Here’s all that Clarets supporters need to know ahead of Saturday’s clash…

Team & match stats:

·       Eastbourne have won four home league games this season, only Dover (2) have won less home games in the National League South.

·       The Sports are looking to keep their first clean sheet in eight league games when they return to action this weekend.

·       The Clarets are without a loss in their last three encounters against Eastbourne.

·       City have lost only one of their previous seven visits to Priory Lane.


Eastbourne Borough’s 23-24 campaign has so far been a frustrating one, with the Sports’ season yet to match new owner Simon Leslie’s pre-season ambitions to “play better football, and to win more games.”

The Sussex club enjoyed a strong season in 22-23, narrowly missing out on a play-off spot, after ending last season sitting 8th in the National League South table. A summer of change ensued at Priory Lane when new owner Leslie’s takeover of the club was confirmed. There was a switch in the dugout when Danny Bloor departed the club, despite enjoying three and a half successful seasons at the helm in Sussex. Bloor was replaced by former Brighton academy coach Mark Beard. The club also confirmed a move to full-time status following Beard’s arrival.

Unfortunately for Borough fans, these changes at the club didn’t bear fruit in the first half of this season, and the Sports found themselves six points adrift from safety on New Year’s Day after a 4-0 home defeat to Sussex rivals Worthing United. An official statement released by Eastbourne on the same day as this loss confirmed the second managerial change in less than a year at Priory Lane, with the club and Beard parting company.

Following his departure, Beard admitted to SussexWorld that results had not been good enough, having won just six games from his 26 league matches in charge.

“In football clubs, it’s all about results, and the buck stops with the manager,” Beard said.

“I have given everything and tried everything, but we are where we are. The switch from part-time to full-time was always going to be a huge challenge.”

Four days after Beard’s departure, Eastbourne announced the appointment of Adam Murray as the club’s new First Team Manager. Murray, who won the National League North as AFC Fylde manager last season, departed his assistant manager job at League One side Cheltenham Town to make the move to Priory Lane.

Former England U20 international Murray has yet to turn results around for his new club on the pitch, with the Sports still six points adrift from safety at present. Murray picked up his first win as Eastbourne manager when his side beat Farnborough last month, however recent defeats against sides challenging for playoff spots, added to a fixture postponement, mean the Sports remain firmly in a relegation battle ahead of this weekend’s match.

Team News:

Ahead of this weekend’s game on an artificial pitch, added to there being an upcoming midweek trip to Hemel Hempstead, Robbie Simpson has admitted he will have a “good think” about how to manage his squad going into two away matches in quick succession.

Getting there:

Supporters travelling by car to this weekend’s game should know that the journey from Melbourne Community Stadium to Priory Lane takes around 2 hours.

There are no spaces left on the sold-out Chelmsford City Supporters Club coach. The coach departs Melbourne Park at 10:45am on Saturday, and will then depart the County Hotel at 11:00am.

Ticketing information:

Supporters can make a saving on admission by buying their tickets for this weekend’s match online, via Eastbourne’s official club website, at the following prices:

Adult – £13Concession (Available to 65+ and Blue Light Card Holders, ID will be required at the box office/ turnstiles) – £9Under 18s & Students (ID will be required at the box office/ turnstiles) – £4Under-12s (Accompanied by a paying adult) – Free

Supporters can also buy tickets on the day at Priory Lane. Matchday turnstile prices are as follows:

Adult – £18Concession (Available to 65+ and Blue Light Card holders, ID will be required at the box office/ turnstiles) – £12Under 18s & Students (ID will be required at the box office/ turnstiles) – £6Under-12s (Accompanied by a paying adult) – Free

How to follow the game:

Radio Clarets will provide live audio commentary of proceedings at Priory Lane.

Clarets fans can find pre-match coverage of Saturday’s match and live updates of proceedings in Sussex by following the club’s X (formerly Twitter) page: @OfficialClarets and Instagram page: chelmsfordcityfc.

Post-match reactions will be found on the club’s website, official social media channels and on ClaretsTV.

Words by Jake Dixon.

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