Weston-super-Mare AFC dug themselves out of a hole of their own creation with a 95th minute equaliser against Eastbourne Borough on Tuesday night, earning themselves a deserved point.

The Optima welcomed The Seagulls and their fans for the last time this season and for 90 or so minutes it looked like it would be a disappointing last visit until Jamie Soule smashed a loose ball into the top corner with seconds to go on the clock.

Weston started off well and produced the first real chance of the game through Marlon Jackson, but it was Eastbourne who drew first blood in the 20th minute, and it was a goal of Weston’s own doing.

A long ball over the top from the Boro defence found it’s way to centre back Jason Pope who looked to head back to keeper Max Harris, but miscommunication between the two meant the ball went straight through Harris’ hands, leaving a loose ball and a wide-open net for opposition striker Yahya Bamba to make it 1-0.

Weston Mercury: After his early mistake Jason Pope put on a man of the match performanceAfter his early mistake Jason Pope put on a man of the match performance (Image: Ade Threasher/WsMAFC)

Eastbourne were then far more content to sit back, the relegation battling side were busy in midfield disrupting play and pressed the Weston forwards as soon as they entered enemy territory, making it harder for Weston to play their possession football.

The Seagulls, however, grew into the game and the second half was all theirs, but they still had to wait until the very last minute to see Eastbourne’s goal net bulge.

A long range shot from Lloyd Humphries was tipped over the bar by Eastbourne keeper Harrison Foulkes, and from the resulting corner the ball was delivered into the box, not dealt with by the Boro defence, and bounced around until it found it’s way to Soule who was clinical with his finish, ensuring his team picked up at least a point.

Weston did have other chances during the game though.

Two great saves from Foulkes denied good headers from Jackson in the 7th and 23rd minutes stopping the home side from getting on the score sheet early on, and another save from Foulkes in the 80th stopped The Seagulls equalising earlier than they did.

There were also yet more injury concerns for Weston.

After Reuben Reid and Callum Wood both left the pitch in Weston’s previous fixture against Aveley, it was left back Jordan Bastin’s turn to take a sideline seat after a collision with an Eastbourne player off the ball.

This forced manager Scott Bartlett to make some changes to his defensive line and after a few iterations of formations Humphries dropped into centre back alongside Dan Avery and Pope was pushed out wide as an unconventional full back.

Despite being a slightly make-shift back line the quartet of Avery, Pope, Humphries, and right back Keiran Thomas were very effective and kept the Eastbourne attack quiet after their goal early in the game.

Pope in particular was brilliant both defensively and going forwards even after his costly mistake to concede the goal and was deservedly awarded man of the match for his performance.

Weston now face Taunton Town in their penultimate match of the 2023/24 season on Thursday night, a team currently in the relegation zone and fighting for survival, setting up what looks to be an intense local derby.