Eastbourne Borough were forced to rely on an extra time winner from frontman Andy Atkin to send them into the next round of the Setanta Shield.
In a nervy encounter at Fisher Athletic’s Champion Hill Stadium, Borough did just enough to earn a 3-2 victory in an exciting cup tie.
After a scrappy first few minutes, Borough began to exert control over the game as Allan Tait forced a fine save, while two corners were fired past the target.
Simon Wormull, who was impressive in the tackle in midfield, put Borough ahead after a fine one-handed save from Fisher’s Simon Overland, coolly dispatching the rebound from deep inside the area.
Eastbourne continued to make the better chances with Mo Harkin finding joy down the flank.
The Borough winger was unlucky not to put his name on the scoresheet after heading a Pat Harding narrowly wide and firing a decent effort past the post in the space of two minutes.
Borough restricted Fisher to half chances without ever dominating the game and goalkeeper Chris Winterton, making his competitive debut, looked assured between the posts.
After the break, Borough looked to have cemented victory when debutant Pat Sappleton headed in a well-delivered corner.
But when Fisher pulled one back against the run of play through substitute Jordan Kiffin it sparked a nightmare final ten minutes for Eastbourne, as a Kenny Beaney free-kick was deflected into his
own net by an unlucky Sappleton.
Buoyed by the equaliser, the plucky Fisher outfit pushed for the winner as Borough clung on in the dying minutes.
After the interval it looked as if Borough would fail to capitalise on a more assured display, with substitute Atkin guilty of wasting two good opportunities. But the Eastbourne striker made up for
earlier wastefulness in front of goal, scoring what proved to be the winner with a neat header, sending Borough through to the next round.
Borough manager Garry Wilson said: “We could have done wtihout extra time. We had a lot of players coming back from injuries and 90 minutes would have been ideal but we failed to man manage the
game when we should have seen out the victory.”
Wilson would not be drawn on whether Sappleton had done enough to earn a long-term contract but praised the player for his second half goal which he described as an exceptional header.
Eastbourne Borough: Winterton, Budd, Ballard, N.Crabb, Harkin, Lovett, Harding, Baker, Sappleton, Tait, Wormull. Subs: Austin, M.Crabb, Armstrong, Atkin, Jenkins.