Eastwood slipped to their 11th straight defeat on Saturday, losing to ten-man Chasetown in the Evo-Stik Division One South.
The home side raced into a 3-0 lead and were only halted when striker Lee Butler was shown red for a two-footed lunge.
Anthony Gregory netted Eastwood’s first goal of 2014 but the Scholars were able to hang on and claim the three points.
After a quiet opening Chasetown took control and Butler’s low free-kick was smartly parried away by Badgers keeper Wayne Smith.
Simon Brown’s effort was then brilliantly cleared off the line by the Shaun Archbold and it seemed only a matter of time until Chasetown broke the deadlock.
And so it proved on 12 minutes when the ball fell to Tesfa Robinson in the area. He took it down on his chest and turned to lash a volley into the roof of the net.
Despite Chasetown’s dominance, the Badgers, who were under the tutelage of new manager Paul MacFarland for the first time, could have been level almost immediately, but returning veteran Kelvin Mushambi’s stooping header dropped just off target.
The hosts got some breathing space in the 17th minute when Butler teed up Brown at the far post. He rifled past the helpless goalkeeper to put the Scholars into a deserved 2-0 lead.
Just a minute later Chasetown grabbed a third. Paul Sullivan pulled the ball back to Ramone Stephens and he hammered into the bottom left corner from eight yards.
Eastwood survived the following onslaught and were given some hope ten minutes from half-time through Butler’s dismissal.
He jumped in on Riece Bertram on the edge of the Eastwood box with a reckless challenge that warranted the red card.
Bertram was lucky to escape injury while the home fans were livid with their notoriously hot-headed striker.
However the Badgers still couldn’t score before the break and ten-man Chasetown looked comfortable.
Sam Hawkins had Eastwood’s first chance of the second period but as he was about to pull the trigger the ball was snatched by a sliding tackle.
A horrible bobble on the soggy pitch then allowed Sullivan through on the Badgers’ goal and Smith had to make a great save with his legs to deny him.
Eastwood were finally gifted their first goal of the New Year when Chasetown captain Chris Slater made a hash of a clearance, slicing against his own upright, and Gregory, another to have recently returned to the Badgers fold, snapped up the rebound to reduce the deficit.
The home side appeared to put the brakes on their quest for more goals when Gregory’s strike went in, instead deciding to close out the game which they did professionally.
In fact the Scholars should really have had a fourth when Sullivan curled one onto the crossbar but 3-1 was how it finished.
Saturday, January 4, 2014:
Chasetown: 1 Ryan Price 2 Chris Slater (c) 3 Grant Beckett 4 Joe Halsall 5 Tes Robinson 6 Richard Teesdale 7 Simon Brown (Jonathan Gould 56) 8 Ryan Bragoli 9 Ramone Stephens (Todd Evans 77) 10 Paul Sullivan (Michael Taylor 84) 11 Lee Butler. Subs not used: Jazz Luckie, Danny Watson
Eastwood: 1 Wayne Smith 2 Tyrone Burton (Courtney Bartley 77) 3 Nick Labbatte 4 Shaun Archbold 5 Anthony Gregory 6 Riece Bertram 7 Martin Smyth (Josh Schofield 72) 8 Sam Hawkins 9 Kelvin Mushambi 10 Jermain Hollis 11 Dan O’Donnell (c) (Vijay Selvam 88) Subs not used: Jacob Sturgess, Dan Dobbie.
Ref: Scott Postin
Best Badger: Wayne Smith
Report by Scott Brotherton