Gary Hayward became the latest new manager to stand in the home dugout at Coronation Park on Tuesday night but by the end of the evening he was left licking similar wounds to many of those before him.
That’s not to say Eastwood necessarily deserved to lose this encounter with Lincoln United, a spirited second-half seeing the Badgers at least merit a point, but in the end Brendan McDaid’s first-half goal was enough to send the hosts to their fifth straight defeat in all competitions.
Several more new faces made their debuts as Hayward’s quickly thrown together squad had to learn fast how to gel with their team-mates, and the understandable disjointedness showed regularly throughout.
Ex-Eastwood man Danny Brooks tested Lewis King with an early free-kick before Greg Simmons was inches away for the hosts with a blockbuster from 25 yards which was just too high.
McDaid and Sean Cann both missed good openings for the visitors but the goal came on 29 minutes when Brooks’ free-kick into the penalty area from deep saw McDaid, one of the smallest players on the pitch, somehow get his head to the ball first to guide it past King who was on his way out to try and punch clear.
Lincoln went close to a second - Brooks, whose set pieces were very dangerous throughout, again finding King with a free-kick and Andrew Toyne also not far away.
In fact, the Badgers nearly levelled right on half-time as Roberto Labbate let fly from the edge of the box after a good attack but his shot smacked the underside of the bar and the ball was cleared.
Both sides created openings in the second-half, Cann, Simon Mowbray (three times) and Toynes nearly settling the game, but Eastwood rallied for the last 20 minutes with some good pressure that went unrewarded.
Dan O’Donnell, Kieran Wells and then, in injury-time, sub Josh Schofield all went close, the latter’s fine drive from the edge of the box well tipped over by keeper Nathan Burrows to seal the Badgers’ fate.
Eastwood: 1 Lewis King 2 Josh Raven 3 James Leggitt 4 Elliott Green 5 Tyrone Burton 6 Roberto Labbate 7 Gareth Langford (Greg Hawes 78) 8 Dan O’Donnell 9 Kieran Wells 10 Tris Whitman (c) 11 Greg Simmons (Josh Schofield 56). Subs not used: Macauley Gillan, Vijay Selvam
Lincoln: 1 Nathan Burrows 2 Ian Wilkin (Ben Brown 74) 3 Stuart King 4 Tom Bachelor 5 Sean Wright 6 Brendan McDaid 7 Nathan Modest 8 Danny Brooks 9 Andrew Toyne 10 Sean Cann (Chris Funnel 84) 11 Simon Mowbray. Subs not used: Sam Wilkinson, Craig Turner Att: 93
Ref: Ben Cooke
Best Badger: Tris Whitman
by Mark Duffy
All photos by Eric Gregory