Seagulls serve up early Christmas present with away win
WESTON served up the perfect early Christmas present for their supporters by securing an invaluable away win.
The 2-1 success against Eastbourne Borough means the Seagulls are now well-poised for a play-off charge ahead of what Craig Laird describes as the most important month of their season.
They face six Blue Square South matches in January, but will first meet Truro City at the Woodspring Stadium on Boxing Day.
Eastbourne were a Blue Square Premier side last season, but despite being favoured for promotion they have languished in mid-table for much of this campaign.
Weston, who benefited from an overnight stay in Bognor Regis before Saturday’s match, started the brighter of the two teams at the Langney Sports Club.
Ben Cleverley, Dayle Grubb and Nat Pepperell all went close for the Seagulls before Nabi Diallo, Pepperell and Grubb combined for Chris Young tapping into an empty net.
Young’s goal was just reward for his recent barnstorming performances, and he troubled Eastbourne’s defence throughout the afternoon until he was replaced by Marc McGregor on 71 minutes.
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By that point Weston had doubled their advantage, when Grubb’s low cross evaded both the defence and on-loan Charlton keeper Conor Gough, but crept in at the far post.
Although Diallo was shown a red card after being adjudged to be the last man, with Simon Johnson beating Lloyd Irish with the resultant free kick, Weston held on for a thoroughly deserved three points.
Praising what he described as the team’s ‘most complete’ performance of the season to date, Craig said: “We put in two excellent 45-minute performances, and to be honest Eastbourne were probably lucky to get a goal back.”
The victory was their fourth away win of the season, and extended the Seagulls’ unbeaten run to five games, with Craig adding: “Last season we said we needed to win away more.
“We’ve all put in some extra work to make that happen, and I think we are starting to see some of that work paying off.”
After Boxing Day’s clash with newly-promoted Truro, where Jamie Price and Kane Ingram should return from suspension, they will then face the Cornish side again on New Year’s Day.
They will then face five teams in the space of 22 days, a spell that Craig thinks will be crucial to determining where they end up this season.
He continued: “Although January won’t define where we end up, it will have a big say as we have lots of important matches to get through. We want to be in the play-off mix at the end of the month, and the season.
“But first things first, we mustn’t throw away our good work against Eastbourne and lose against Truro, it’s time to show that we deserve to be in the play-offs by the end of the season.
“I’d also like to wish all of our fans a very merry Christmas, and I hope we can do them justice on Boxing Day.”