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Windsor FC exit FA Vase after humiliating 7-1 home defeat to Eastbourne Town

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Windsor FC v Eastbourne Town. Picture by Emma Sheppard

Windsor 1, Eastbourne Town 7

Eastbourne Town made it an afternoon for Windsor FC to forget by handing them a 7-1 defeat in the FA Vase on Saturday. Dan Bolwell’s four goal haul added more misery to Mark Cooper and his side who were hoping to bounce back from a 5-0 league defeat to Binfield earlier in the week.

A brace from Dan Perry and another from Aaron Capon rounded off a disappointing afternoon at Stag Meadow for the Royalists who exit the tournament in the second qualifying round. Kai Davis netted Windsor their only goal in the 89th minute when the game was already dead and buried.

Eastbourne kicked off the game and were quick to register the first shot of the game within minutes of the first whistle. Sam Cole’s volley from the edge of the area was tame enough for Windsor’s Lewis Gallifent to deal with.

The Royalists looked equal to Eastbourne’s tempo and had the ball in the back of the net down the other end through Kingsley Etefia’s calm finish, but much to the groans of the home support the goal was ruled offside.

In an end-to-end opening exchange Aaron Capon had a close opportunity to break the deadlock for the Town as he raced onto a pass from the middle of the pitch and rounded the onrushing Gallifent. The midfielder took a touch to set himself before shooting a low effort towards goal, but to Gallifent’s relief, Luke Appleton was on the line to clear the ball at full stretch.

Midway through the first half, Windsor had their best opportunity to take the lead through a manic three chances in quick succession. Ive’s whipped corner kick found Thair Fraser who managed to head an effort from six yards out straight at Eastbourne keeper Michael Platt. The ball ricocheted off Platt’s arm and hit the bar sending it back into play.

Brooks-Smith latched onto the loose ball and thundered another shot against the woodwork before the Windsor attack had one final attempt from the rebound, but Ive could only side foot the ball up and over the bar.

The Royalists were made to rue their misses when Eastbourne took the lead moments after. A whipped free kick from the right corner flag found Dan Bolwell who only had to glance the ball to send it into the corner of the net, opening his scoring of the day with a very valuable header.

The goal evidently fired the midfielder up who had multiple opportunities to hand his side an extended lead, skipping his way past the Windsor back line before crossing a dangerous ball into the box towards Dan Perry who couldn’t quite reach it. The Royalists looked to retain the ball in the closing minutes of the first half, keen to regroup at the break with their team clearly on the back foot.

If Mark Cooper delivered a change in tactic at half time, it was sure to be rendered useless as Eastbourne doubled their advantage immediately after the break. Bolwell notched his second of the afternoon with a curled effort into Gallifent’s top left corner.

Town maintained the intensity and Bolwell secured his hattrick with 51 minutes played. The Windsor keeper pushed a strike from range away to his right but Perry was quickest to react and crossed low into Bolwell who slotted home into an unguarded net.

The flood gates were well and truly open now and Perry scored Eastbourne’s fourth. Boss Cooper wasn’t afraid to let his emotions be known and moved from his technical area to a seat in the dugout, visibly frustrated with how his side managed to to concede three goals inside twenty minutes.

Bolwell capped off a fine afternoon with a well struck free kick that appeared to take a nick off Paul Coyne on the way to goal but the Eastbourne player was in no doubt that the goal was his own and fifth of the match.

Windsor made all three of their changes on the 65th minute, with Robert Lazarczuk, Sydney Woods and Andrew Ingram replacing Coyne, Brooks-Smith and Fraser. Within seconds of the home side’s substitutions, Aaron Capon was able to score Eastbourne’s sixth with a solo effort that found its way into the side netting of Windsor’s goal.

The relentless Eastbourne side concluded their scoring with Perry’s smart finish from close range.

From what was a lively crowd in the early afternoon, the Stag Meadow home support were now sitting in stunned silence with a few spectators choosing to make their journey home before the final whistle.

Kai Davis did manage to net Windsor a consolation a minute before full time but the right back’s driven shot registered the last true attempt of the game.

The full time whistle spared the Royalists any more embarrassment and Cooper will no doubt want to move on swiftly and leave his side’s performance in distant memory.

WINDSOR: Gallifent, Davis, Higgins, Brooks-Smith, Macaskill, Appleton, Coyne, Bajja, Fraser, Etefia, Ive

Subs: Smyth, Ingram, Lazarczuk, Woods

EASTBOURNE: Platt, Goldsmith, Cole, Bolwell, Rogers, Tear, Capon, Johnson, Perry, Vickers, Taggart

Subs: Pritchard, Hover, Strevett, Colbran, Cook, Scrafton

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