One eye on Eastbourne tomorrow
My adopted non league team (everyone should have one) Eastbourne Borough's season all comes down to one game tomorrow. The Borough were promoted to the Conference two season's ago and have been punching above their weight ever since.
They started the season well but began to drift to a congested relegation battle way before Christmas and have found it hard to stay above the drop zone. Helped by Grays Athletic's ineptitude Borough have been trying to avoid the last two relegation spots
along with Ebbsfleet, Gateshead, a resurgent Forest Green Rovers and a falling Histon.
With one game left of the season Borough have their fate in their own hands. Beat Oxford United, who have already qualified for the play-offs at home, and they are safe. Lose or draw then that allows Gateshead and Ebbsfleet the chance to overtake them, particularly as Eastbourne have by far the worst goal difference.
Oxford were once runaway leaders of the Conference and it looked as if the U's were to return to the football league but they've wobbled badly in 2010 and offered Stevenage little resistence in their walk to the title. However they have been watched by 6,000 odd at home and have travelled in big numbers. Borough average 1,140 and a 3,000+ crowd is expected at The Priory tomorrow.
Gateshead had a huge chance on Tuesday to move out of the bottom three but lost at home to Stevenage 1-0 and tomorrow they entertain AFC Wimbledon, who have an excellent away record. Ebbsfleet with young Addick Alex Stavrinou patrolling their midfield are at home to safe Tamworth. A point would do for Histon at home to Barrow and Forest Green should win at Julian Dicks' Grays Athletic, who are 16 points adrift at the bottom.
My heart will be in Devon
tomorrow but I will certainly have one eye on Eastbourne Borough, who are probably playing their most important game in their 46-year history.