Tiverton Town made the long journey to Eastbourne Borough to take on the Vanaramna National League South side in the second round of the FA Trophy. A hard task was made even harder with the numbing cold and the very strong gusting wind that meant the game was never going to be a spectacle to watch.
The home side got the game underway and the first ten minutes were a case of adjusting to the conditions for both teams. Tivvy won the first corner of the game but Dan Hayfields cross into the box got caught in the wind and went out on the far side for a throw in to Eastbourne. On eighteen minutes a good move down the line involving Kyle Egan and Jordan Lam resulted in the first real chance on goal but a fine save from Lee Worgan in the Eastbourne goal kept Lams shot from finding the back of the net.
The strong wind continued to blow most goalward efforts out of play and in some cases out of the ground. Twenty two minutes gone and the home side broke quickly down the line and the cross which was wind assisted was dealt with by Lewis Williams in the Tivvy goal. Tiverton were seeing more of the ball and were matching their higher league opponents and another good move down the wing this time involving Louis Morison and the impressive Lam was halted by the home defence. Lam again found a bit of space on the edge of the box and let fly with a low shot which Worgan saved comfortably.
As the half went on the home side came into it more and Williams in the Tivvy goal was called into action on several occasions to keep the ball out. On one of the home attacks a cross was whipped into the box Williams got two fist to it but the wind took the ball high up and just over the bar instead of being cleared up the pitch. In the thirty six minute Williams tried to clear the ball but his effort was blocked by Eastbourne striker Greg Luer but luckily for Tivvy the ball went out of play. Tiverton found themselves pegged back by the home side but when they did break away they found the home defence hard to break down. With three minutes left of the half a good passing move down the line by Eastbourne and a cross into the box that split the Tivvy defence found Charlie Walker who had a simple tap in to make the halftime score 1-0 to Eastbourne.
Tiverton got the second half underway and were awarded a early free kick but Hayfields kick was lost in the wind and went out of play. Joel Rollinson had a good opportunity to score a second goal for Eastbourne but his shot was well saved by Williams to keep Tivvy in the game. On fifty seven minutes a Hayfield corner nearly went straight into the net but Worgan in the Eastbourne goal just managed to clear the ball from under his own crossbar. Rollinson again had a chance to get goal number two for the home side but again he was foiled by Williams and a great saving tackle from Alfie Pond got the ball away.
With sixty four minutes on the clock Tivvy made their first changes of the match bringing on Theo Simpson and Joe Belsten who replaced Matt Wright and Nelson Iseguan in a bid to find the equaliser.
Two minutes later and it was Eastbourne who found the back of the net their first effort was cleared off the line by pond after Williams was beaten by the shot but the ball fell to Walker who curled his shot into the far corner to score his and Eastbournes second to make it 2-0. Tiverton nearly found a quick reply but Morisons low shot across the box was well saved by the home sides keeper. Tivvy made one more change as they looked for a way back into the game bringing on Alex Moyes who replaced Aaron Dawson . Two minutes later and they were back in the game when a cross from Lam was brilliantly smashed into the net by Dan Hayfield to make the score 2-1 and set up a exciting finish.
Tivvy went all out looking for a equaliser which would take the game to a penalty shoot out but the home defence held out and it was the home side that progressed to the next round. Tivvy can be very proud of their performance against a team that play in a higher league and on another day in different conditions it could have been a different score. But congratulations to Eastbourne on the win. Final score Eastbourne Borough 2 Tiverton Town 1