Brantham Athletic bow out of FA Cup after a gutsy performance against Eastbourne

The scene at Brantham Athletic as the hosts take on Eastbourne Borough in this afternon's big FA Cup

The scene at Brantham Athletic as the hosts take on Eastbourne Borough in this afternon's big FA Cup tie. Picture: CARL MARSTON - Credit: Archant

Brantham Athletic 0 Eastbourne Borough 1

Brantham captain Ed Nobbs (grounded) and Craig Hughes in the thick of the action against Eastbourne

Brantham captain Ed Nobbs (grounded) and Craig Hughes in the thick of the action against Eastbourne Borough this afternoon. Picture: CARL MARSTON - Credit: Archant

Brantham Athletic bowed out of the FA Cup after producing a gutsy performance against Eastbourne Borough in today’s second qualifying round tie.

It was a terrific display from the Blue Imps, boosted by some fine saves from keeper Luke Avenell.

But Eastbourne, who operate at Step Two in the non-league ladder, three divisions above Brantham, grabbed the only goal of the game in the 57th minute with substitute Yemi Odubade sweeping home a loose ball into an unguarded net.

The Suffolk hosts had their chances, with George Clarke going close in the first half, and they went all-out to find a late equaliser, with Eastbourne hanging on at times.

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Avenell made five terrific saves in the first half, although Brantham came close to a goal themselves in a typically full-blooded cup tie.

Eastbourne were encamped in the hosts’ half of the pitch for the opening minutes, and they nearly broke the deadlock on five minutes when Avenell superbly blocked Ryan Hall’s volley with his legs.

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The Blue Imps’ first real foray across the half-way line created a half-chance for joint player-manager Michael Brothers. He powered onto Sam Newson’s through ball and tried his luck from 30 yards out with an angled drive which keeper Mark Smith palmed away for a corner.

From the ensuing corner, centre-half Jack Sibbons headed over the top from Craig Hughes’ delivery.

Otherwise, it was the visitors piling on the pressure. The busy Avenell beat away a deflected low drive from Kane Wills down at his near post on 16 minutes, and he pulled off another wonderful save by blocking Charlie Walker’s ferocious drive following left-back Kristian Campbell’s 21st minute cross.

Avenell’s fourth impressive save arrived on 26 minutes. This time he dived to his right to push away a 25-yarder by centre-forward Walker.

Just after the half-hour mark and Avenell denied the Sussex visitors again. A quick break saw Campbell release Walker, but once again his goalbound shot was blocked and eventually scooped up by Brantham’s No. 1.

However, Brantham were within a whisker of taking the lead in the 38th minute. George Clarke deceived Sergio Torres on the left flank and surged forward on a powerful run before drilling in a shot which flew across the face of goal and agonisingly wide of the far upright.

The home side started the second period very brightly, and a shot on the turn by Newson flew straight into the arms of keeper Smith in the 51st minute.

A few seconds later and Avenell was in the thick of the action again, showing strong hands to beat away another firecracker by Walker.

But Avenell was finally beaten in the 57th minute. Avenell punched away a delivery from the right, but he was in no-man’s land as the loose ball fell for substitute Odubade to steer home into an unguarded net.

Brantham tried to respond and Hughes fired well over the top, following a spell of pressure around the 65-minute mark.

The hosts also had a goal ruled out for offside in the 79th minute, when Clarke steered home from substitute Mason Ridegway-Lumley’s low cross, while Newson homed in on goal and cut inside before seeing his shot blocked by a defender on 84 minutes.


BRANTHAM: Avenell, Bennett, Nobbs, C Hughes, Sibbons, Crisell, Brothers (sub Ridgeway-Lumley, 74), Madley (sub F Hughes, 85), Newson, Clarke, Newland (sub Yaxley, 67). Unused subs: Johnson, Rowe, Cole, Rymer.

EASTBOURNE: Smith, West (sub Day, 67), Campbell, Wills, Ransom, Gardiner, Cox, Torres, Walker (sub Simpemba, 85), Dawes (sub Odubade, 54), Hall. Unused subs: Martin, Bridges, Pollard, Shaw.

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