Late strikes deny Eastwood a share

Eastwood's Paul Riley (no.3) fends off a Bishop's Stortford challenge on Tuesday night.

Eastwood's Paul Riley (no.3) fends off a Bishop's Stortford challenge on Tuesday night.

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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Blue Square Bet North

EASTWOOD TOWN 3

Jason Bradley 23, 32

Josh Burge 90+3

BISHOP’S STORTFORD 4

Michael Bakare 1

Paco Craig 42

Dwight Gayle 84, 85

CONCEDING in the opening seconds, a somewhat iffy goalkeeping display, fans boycotting the match and two decisive late goals to give the visitors three points - everything that could go wrong, probably did.

And so it was that Eastwood fell to defeat once more and disgruntled supporters were left wondering what on earth will go wrong next in this topsy-turvy and unpredictable period of the club’s history.

This performance was better than that produced at Nuneaton on Saturday, not least because the Badgers managed to score three goals this time, but conceding four again meant they ended up with nothing once more.

The writing was on the wall after just 35 seconds. The ball was fed forward to visiting striker Michael Bakare who looked suspiciously offside as he ran in behind the defence, but when he fired in a pot-shot volley from 30 yards out James Severn in the Eastwood goal should have done a lot better than to palm the ball into the net for a disastrous opener.

An equally fortuitous leveller then nearly followed four minutes later, when Anthony Gregory’s wayward shot hit the back of Jarrod Westcarr and very nearly crept inside the far post.

Defender Sean Francis headed wide from a corner for the visitors, before on 19 minutes Westcarr flashed an effort across goal which just evaded Jason Bradley in the middle.

Francis went close again on 21 with another header which Severn just about gathered whilst airborne, but the Badgers were to level on 23 minutes.

Alex Troke delivered an excellent free-kick in from the left-hand touchline and Bradley got up to plant a fine header wide of Joe Wright in the Bishop’s Stortford goal.

And after a period of quiet the Badgers were in front on 32. Westcarr did superbly to charge down the left, beating Ritchie Jones in the process before crossing from the byline for Bradley to nod home once more from six yards out.

Scott Shulton nearly levelled minutes later when a corner was cleared to him 25 yards out and his volley flashed just wide of goal, but it was to be another sloppy goal which was to bring the scores level three minutes before the break.

Shulton’s free-kick from wide left saw Severn come off his line to try and claim, but he failed to gather and the ball went into the net off the back of the challenging, and falling, Paco Craig who seemed a little embarrassed to claim the goal.

And Severn’s nervous evening continued on the stroke of half-time, when Junior Dadson cut inside and hit a low shot which went straight through the fingers of the on-loan Derby keeper and came back off the post.

Bradley had a shout for a penalty early in the second-half when he appeared to be tripped by Reece Prestedge but neither referee nor assistant were interested in the striker’s cries for a spot-kick.

Bakare broke free again and fired wide on 57 minutes, and six minutes later burst through the middle only to skew his shot wide.

After another dull period Severn redeemed his earlier errors as he rushed out to block when Shulton burst through the centre of defence on 75 minutes.

But the visitors were to go back in front with six minutes to go.

Dadson got down the left and put in a fine cross which Dwight Gayle stooped to head down into the ground and up into the net.

And seconds later Gayle was on target once more, this time running on to a through ball and sliding through Severn’s legs to seal the win.

Paul Riley flashed a fine effort wide from distance, and in the third minute of injury time Eastwood reduced the arrears when sub Josh Burge took a through pass and finished well into the far corner, but it was all too late as the visitors held on.

Eastwood: 1 James Severn 2 Alex Troke 3 Paul Riley 4 Mitch Hanson (Aaron Mitchell 86) 5 Gavin Caines 6 Steve Istead (c) 7 Jake Sheridan 8 Anthony Gregory 9 Jason Bradley 10 Jarrod Westcarr (Josh Burge 72) 11 Aaron Cole

Subs not used: Jake Want (GK), Jevaise Christie, Danny Elliott

Att: 176

Ref: P Graham

Best Badger: Jason Bradley