Midhurst content to take point from relegated Eastbourne

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Midhurst did well to secure a 1-1 draw from Eastbourne United, who - although they were relegated from Sussex League division one at the end of last season - have improved their squad over the summer.

For Midhurst’s part, they have signed 25 players to serve their first and second teams, who remain in division two and the reserve division west.

As Rotherfield is also used for cricket, home football matches cannot start until early September.

The first team have to play their first six games away.

Midhurst made the 120-mile round trip to Eastbourne hoping to kick off with at least a point.

A well-earned draw was what they got and if this level of football is kept up they could avoid having to scramble for points at the bottom of the table as the end of the season approaches.

It was 30 minutes before a goal was scored. Midhurst’s defence relaxed and Callum Holly was able to steer the ball past new keeper Ian Knight in the Midhurst goal. The goal brought extra effort from the home midfield but Midhurst were also trying hard and a quick throw by Sean Dummer saw new signing Steve Boston strike the ball past Ray Collier in the home goal.

Knight showed he could fill the No1 spot and increase the defenders’ confidence.

Eastbourne went close when Rory Newbey came on as a substitute and lifted the ball over the bar.

Midhurst brought on Marcus Williams in place of Jamie O’Leary and Eastbourne replaced Dan Bateman with Rory Newbey.

Referee Peter Lindsey handled the game well and only Eastbourne’s Evan Archibold saw yellow.

With five minutes left, Midhurst were relieved to see Archibold shoot into the side netting. On Saturday Midhurst make the long journey to Westfield.

MIDHURST: Knight, O’Leary, Crawford, Castleton, May, Day, Glue, Hyde, Boston, Dummer, Rowland. Sub: Marcus Williams.

The second X1 start at Pease Pottage on Saturday, August 27.

TED DUMMER