Molesley return ends in loss

Mark Molesley’s first game in charge since 2020 ended in a 1-0 loss away to Eastbourne Borough on Saturday at Priory Lane.

It was not the ideal start for the recently-returned gaffer, who concurred that we “lacked that last bit of quality in the final third.”

But, despite our loss, he praised how the players responded after “only one training session.”

“This is a good group and they certainly went out and attacked the game,” Molesley added.

Matt Green made the difference for the hosts early on in the game, firing past Richards into the top-right corner to score the only goal.

Our loss means we will have to wait a little longer to confirm our status in the National League South for next season.

However, should things go our way tomorrow, safety could still be just around the corner.

Molesley made just one change from our abandoned clash against arch-rivals Yeovil Town, swapping Joel Rollinson for Keelan O’Connell.

While our aims to secure safety in the league with a win were well-known, the hosts had ambitions of their own.

Sitting one point above the drop zone before the game, Molesley said in our match preview that we would be up against a team “fighting for their lives.”

Yet, it would be us with the first major chance of the game.

Goodship, often reliable inside the box, fired wide after a combination of play between O’Connell and Harry Parsons.

Admittedly, the chance was a difficult one, being from a tight angle.

But, despite our early promise, it would take The Sports less than a minute to respond.

Former-Terra David Sesay’s effort at goal looked to be going wide, only for Green to instinctively pounce and fire past Wiles-Richards to give his side the lead after just 10 minutes.

Chances would then be hard to come by for our players, even after O’Connell’s cross nearly picked out Dan Roberts three minutes after Green’s opener.

Yahya Bamba was one of the game’s more dangerous players, getting the better of our defence on multiple occasions, one of which resulted in a Teddy Howe yellow card.

The game continued to prove a cagey affair, although Corey Panter was forced to block Finn Ballard-McBride’s strike behind for a corner-kick 10 minutes before halftime.

However, we were unable to muster any threatening opportunities, as we headed down the tunnel a goal behind.

The second half began following a half-time change from Molesley, Howe being replaced by Harry Jones.

Our start to the second half was a bright one, threatening the hosts’ goal with a double-chance five minutes in.

Roberts saw his strike blocks after a Bearwish and Jones link-up, before our skipper fired wide on the rebound.

O’Connell would then see Bradley Barry get in the way of his effort four minutes later, as we began to look the more menacing out of the two teams.

Parsons would then attempt a typical ambitious long-range effort of his barely a minute on, with the ball heading wide in the process.

The winger, now upfront after Roberts was replaced by Ben Winterburn, saw his clever free-kick pushed away by Harrison Foulkes.

By now, the game was reaching its close, as Touray was our final change, coming on with less than 15 minutes of regular time to go.

The substitute, often deadly after being introduced, may have pulled us level had he managed to connect with Bearwish’s cross.

Eastbourne, however, struck back with nine minutes to go, fellow-sub Decarray Sheriff’s edge-of-box shot forcing Wiles-Richards to dive to his left and make a spectacular save.

With five minutes of added time being awarded, both sides would have the opportunity to change the scoreline.

Sesay almost doubled his side’s lead after he was teed up by Jake Hutchinson, only for Panter to valiantly clear the ball off the line.

Our final chance was presented to Bearwish, who struck towards the near-post after the ball was headed down by Charlie Rowan.

Our skipper, however, fired wide, as the hosts picked up a vital three points during their fight for survival.

Match report
By Jack Webb

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