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17 November - Eastbourne Town 3 - North Leigh 2 - FA Vase
Town FC produced a stunning fightback on Saturday.
When they eventually triumphed over a very good Oxfordshire based North Leigh in the 2 nd round of the FA Vase , thanks to a hat trick of goals from Shaun Loft .
It was a classic game of cup football, and was a game of two halfs , for the first North Leigh played down the sloping pitch , and Town took a while to adjust to the conditions , but could not stop North Leigh being 2 goals to the good at half time .
The first came on 6 minutes when the busy , Kevin Lewis found himself on the end of a quickly taken free kick , and he slid the ball into the back of the Town net .Town then had a strong penalty appeal turned down , after it appeared John Piercy had been upended in the Penalty area .
Greg Nessling kept Town in the game with two high quality saves when he denied first Futcher and then a header from Mcabe as North leigh looked to extend their lead .
Town though kicking up the slope were unable to really break down the well organised North Leigh defence ,and North Leigh extended their lead on 34 minutes with a well taken goal .Futcher on the left of the Town area , sent over a superb ball , and Lewis volleyed home at the far post to make it 2-0 .
Town then took at 2-0 deficiet into the break and whatever Town manager Ady Colwell said at half time made the difference and Town delivered the goods in the second half .
Kicking down the slope Town started to keep the ball better , using the full width of the pitch started to stretch the North Leigh defence .Town substitutes in the shape of Graham Holman and James Body made an immediate impact ,and were both involved with the opening Town goal .The ball was fed across form Body to Holman , he beat his marker and delivered a superb cross to the far post , Shaun Loft rose highest between defender and goalkeeper , and his header found the North Leigh net .
It was just what the Town players and traveling support needed and added extra impertus to the Town attacking play .Shots from Holman , Dicker and Baitup were all beaten away by the busy North Leigh keeper such was Towns dominance . However North leigh almost added a third on 80 minutes when Nessling was beaten to the ball by Mcabe , he slid the ball under the diving Keeper , and just as the ball was about to cross the Town goaline , the superb Reece Head made a great goaline clearance from under his own crossbar .
The equalising Town goal came on 84 minutes , this time from Dicker wide on the left , he again delivered a superb cross on to the diving head of Loft and he made no mistake to draw Town level .It was no more than Town deserved especially on the second half showing and the game went into extra time .
Town had now adjusted to playing up the slope , and they defended well during the first period of the extra time , and kept North Leigh at bay . However, John Piercy thought he had scored with a sublime free kick that somehow the home keeper managed to just tip over the bar and away to safety .However the score was still level at the break and as the second period started only one team looked like they were going to win it , with North Leighs fitness looking suspect , and Town kicking down the slope .On 109 mins Loft notched his Hatrick , This time his strike partner Baitup found himself in space , he had time to composed himself , and he deliverd another superb cross onto the head of Loft and again his header found the back of the north leigh net to send the Town bench wild.
North Leigh now lost there composure , and some bad tackles came flying in on the Town players , which resulted in Dodds for North Leigh being shown a straight red and he departed the pitch. By then though Town had done enough , and at the final whistle It was the fitter and more composed side that had won , Town never panicked when they were 2-0 down , they produced an epic comeback and on the entertainment stakes it was a classic match to go down in towns long history .
1 G NESSLING 7 2 S BROWNALL 7( G HOLMAN 7) (A DAVIDSON 7) 3 C DICKER 7 4 J PIERCY 7 5 R HEAD 8 6 P FEATHERSTONE 7 7 L DENTON 7 8 G MANTON 7 9 L BAITUP 7 10 S LOFT 8 11 N MILROY 7
MOM SHAUN LOFT - A FANTASTIC HATRICK
20 November, 2006

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