Broadbridge Heath were left to rue first-half missed chances as a clinical Eastbourne United snatched all three points at the Leisure Centre this afternoon.
The Bears put in a dominant display in the opening 45 minutes and could have easily been ahead at the break, but for some missed chance in front of goal and good stops from United goalkeeper James Broadbent.
The visitors then gave a lesson in finishing as they capitalised and led through right-back Shaun Lee’s 66th-minute header, before fellow full-back David Smart made the points safe on 85 minutes with an impressive low strike from distance.
That left Heath pondering how, in a match they could have comfortably been leading in, they ended up empty handed from for their troubles.
Piers McDermott, who shined for Heath in the early exchange, put in an early cross for Stuart Chester at the far post, but he headed back across the face of goal.
A quick McDermott throw then set away Jake Holmes, but he got the ball stuck between his feet as he drove through the box.
A long McDemott throw then sailed all the way across the box and Tim Martin got the last faint touch, but it was simple enough for Broadbent to claim.
Their best chance came on 14 minutes as a McDermott corner from the left was headed towards goal by Martyn Flack and Holmes pealed off the far post, but his header from close range was pushed over the bar. Moments later, Martyn Flack’s effort dropped agonisingly wide at the near post.
Another McDermott throw was then half cleared to the edge of the box where Holmes unleashed a fierce volley that was blocked by United’s Peter Featherstone on its way to goal - and despite appeals for handball, nothing was given.
That was to be the last action from McDermott who was scythed down from behind in a bad tackle that went unpunished and had to be replaced by Rod Godfrey.
The incoming midfielder started where his outgoing team-mate left off as he headed a Scott Weller corner against the bar and over.
United just could not get a foot on the ball and the Heath attacks continued as Broadbent had to save with his legs to deny Martin from close range as the half ended 0-0.
The visitors improved after the break and a Smart corner picked out Adam Davidson’s run and he turned his effort goalwards only for Chester to clear at the far post.
United winger Bailo Camara, who was a spectator for much of the first half, then cut in and beat a couple of challenges before dragging well wide.
At the other end, Martyn Flack met another corner and his header flew across the goalmouth, only for Chester’s effort to again sail across the area and out.
Holmes’ half-volley after a knocked down looked as though it had given the hosts the lead on the hour mark, but with Broadbent at full stretch, it went millimeters wide.
Smart’s long-range effort forced Elliott Flack, deputising for the absent Michael Chester, into his first save of the afternoon, before Liam Baitup’s right-footed effort was wide and always rising.
United took the lead on 66 minutes as Lee arrived unmarked towards to back of the six-yard box to head home Smart’s corner from the left.
Heath created few real chances at a leveller, the best came from a corner which looked as though Stuart Chester would nod home, but for a cracking clearing header from Lee at the back post.
The away side then made the game safe with five minutes left as a switch in play saw substitute Zac Dove move the ball into the path of Smart, whose first-time low shot from 27 yards nestled into the far bottom corner.
Heath: E.Flack, Wicking, M.Flack, Howard, Robinson, S.Chester (Ozma 86), Waddingham, Weller, McDermott (Godfrey 30), Martin (Mutungi 83), Holmes. Unused subs: Legrange.
United: Broadbent, Lee, Davidson (Dove 50), Featherstone, Smart, Camara, Stevens, Filsell, Bunn, Clifford (Painter 87), Baitup. Unused subs: Hall.
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