Priory Lane – Eastbourne Borough

25 Oct

This is a guest post written by Jack Jolly. You can follow him on Twitter at @jaka03.

Eastbourne Borough – 5

Altrincham – 0

Conference Premier – 18th September 2010

Forget derbies or the festive fixtures, the first game my eyes are drawn to is Eastbourne Away. There is something I love about long distance away fixtures. Maybe it’s the fact that you can say “I was there”, or maybe its extra joy of a win and celebration of a goal so far from home. Eastbourne is one of the few places I’ve visited more than once since deciding to follow the robins the length of the country. So when the fixtures were released in July, a quick Ctrl F search allowed me to discover we were playing Eastbourne mid-September. This was great news, or so I thought. I had missed the opening day defeat away at Luton (an 89th minute winner), and the disastrous second half collapse against Darlington (winning 2-0 at half time, which finished 2-2) due to being on holiday, so Eastbourne (bar York and Gateshead) was my first proper long away trip of the season.

Altrincham has started disastrously having only a solitary point in the campaign after 9 games, and in the week leading up to Eastbourne were forced to put Ken McKenna in temporary charge after club legend Graham Heathcote’s contract was mutual terminated. This lead to the chairman Geoff Goodwin resigning from the board. However, and I have no idea why, I still felt the need to spend 13 hours on a round trip to watch my club.

6 hours in.

So at around 7am, with just a few hours sleep and whilst the rest of my family slept, I left for the south coast aboard a packed coach with 41 other optimistic souls and one tired looking driver. We stopped a few hours later at my favourite services…. Norton canes. For those who don’t me, I have a strong hatred for this place. In terms of football, it’s like what I imagine the Emirates stadium to be like or (having visited it) Crawley towns ground is like – rip off prices served in a soulless atmosphere. So after rip off breakfast and kick about, we travelled another few hours involving a lot of time spent on Google maps wondering if we’d got any closer, eventually arriving about half one.

Having been before, I knew what to expect (Priory Lane has several football pitches next to it) so had readily brought a football to pass the time in the glorious sunshine before kick off – if id known the result before hand id has stayed there all afternoon. I really like Priory Lane. Perhaps that’s because the few times I’ve visited it has been 30 degrees. It’s your typical Non League ground, one small stand and three terraces, cheap food and advertising boards for companies nobody has heard of. However this ground did have a magic scoreboard that could predict the future.

The Magic Eastbourne Scoreboard

Kick off arrived, and the teams were switched round, from then on it was down hill. As we made our way through the Eastbourne fans, they scored, que myself and every other poor soul being ridiculed. It was simply Eastbourne’s day, as they continued to have the better of things. Things were made worse when Treleaven was fed through, and whilst Alty looked for offside, he drove a well placed low shot from the right across Coates into the far corner to make it 2-0. It was made three by the home side when new man Cook hurled a long ball towards goal where Pacquette bundled it in at the near post on 38 minutes.

The teams line up

Altrincham came out much stronger after the break, despite losing Clee through injury. Inevitably Boro’s fourth soon came, when a dubious free kick was headed home unchallenged by the centre back. To rub salt into the wounds Eastbourne “78thcorner of the day was handled by centre back Robbie Williams, and from the resulting penalty Weatherstone converted to make it 5-0 with still 15 minutes to play. This may seem biased but the Altrincham fans were the only vocal people present, and continued to get behind their team including my favourite chant of “What its like to lose at stoke” referring to the play off final 5 years ago in which Altrincham won. Some fine saves late on by each keeper meant the result stayed the same. The Altrincham fans had their moment when a 6th goal was disallowed and chanting “its only 5-0”.

One Robbie Lawton

After the final whistle, the team trudged down the tunnel, but to the surprise of the fans, club captain Robbie Lawton ran the length of the pitch to speak to the fans. He promised to “turn it around”, and threatened to “give up captaincy if the team played in a similar fashion again” (he put this right the following Tuesday by inspiring a 2-0 victory against high flying Barrow). When we thought it could get no worse, the day was complete by being forced to listen to an awful comedy DVD (Les Dennis) and a trip to my favourite place in the world for a £8.99 burger meal… 

A fate worse than death....

All in all the day wasn’t that bad, and it was certainly memorable and I met some top notch people that day.

About Jack Jolly

Jack Jolly, fan of away days and an Altrincham fan. You can follow him on Twitter at @jaka03.

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