A somewhat ‘shell shocked’ Hemel were pretty much beaten before they got going on the new 3G surface at Vauxhall Road. Eastbourne came into the game having suffered a 0 – 3 first game defeat at home on Tuesday evening and were determined not to see a repeat of that performance. They got off to the perfect start, going in front after just 30 seconds when James Hammond sent Dean Cox clear of a sleepy Hemel backline, he raced down the left, before crossing the ball onto the unmarked Charlie Walker’s head and he buried it past a helpless Danny Boness in the Tudors goal.
It got worse just six minutes later when, in an almost identical move Cox picked out Whelpdale who got between two Hemel defenders, and he made no mistake, heading home to make it 2 – 0
Hemel were making few inroads at this point and Eastbourne pressed home their advantage, A misplaced pass in the centre of the pitch was picked up by Walker who picked out that man again, Whelpdale who comfortably tucked it away to blag his second and Borough’s third after just 17 minutes.
Hemel’s back line had looked pretty solid in the pre-season run up and indeed at Dunstable and Slough so it was somewhat surprising to concede three early goals but it happens in football and it was going to be a true test of character after such a poor start to the game.
In fairness, they stepped up their efforts and their first real chance came when Danny Webb beat keeper Ravizzoli to a through ball but in doing so he took it wide and could only drive it across the face of the goal with no red shirt in sight.
Webb then forced Ravizzoli into a smart save and Jake Evans drove his shot wide as the Tudors started to cause a few problems for the visitors. Jacques Kpohomouh had the best chance of the half when he met a Howells cross with his head, only to see it hit the keeper’s legs and bounce clear.
Hemel made two changes at the break bringing on Luke Pennell and Kyle Ajayi but Borough were in no mood to relinquish their advantage, giving little away.
As Hemel increasingly tried to get forward there were the inevitable gaps at the back and Danny Boness had to be at his best to stop a Rollinson effort, the keeper just getting a hand on the shot.
From the resulting corner the ball was laid back to the edge of the box. James Hammond drove a shot in and it took a deflection to take it past a helpless Boness to make it 4 – 0 and game well and truly over.
One positive Hemel can take from the game is that Sadik Balarabe looks a useful acquisition. Coming on in the second half he saw a shot saved from close range and with 10 minutes left on the clock he got his head on a Reggie Young cross to reduce the arrears.
Eastbourne were content to see the game out after this and weren’t really threatened with the clock ticking down. Not the best way to start things on their new pitch and they now face a tough away trip to Boston United in the FA Cup on Tuesday evening, the game being played at Gainsborough which involves a daunting 280 mile round trip.
Hemel: Danny Boness, Jacques Kpohomouh, Tyrese Owen (Luke Pennell) 45 min, Jake Howells © Ryan Kinnane, Jacob Cook (Kyle Ajayi) 45 min, Jake Evans, Ade Cole, Matt Bateman, Danny Webb (Sadik Balerabe) 55 min, Reggie Young
Subs not used: Rowan Vine, Dean Snedker.