After the departure of manager Nick Farrington following the Boxing Day defeat against Ellesmere Rangers, Eccleshall travelled to Sandbach United with a new management team in place - Kyle Adams and Craig Bould. The starting line up also featured three new signings - Jordan Benton, Miles Johnson and Alexander Nwachukwu.
They got off to the worst possible start, going behind in the first two minutes when a ball into the box wasn't cleared and Jordan Erdmann scrambled the ball home. Efforts followed by Elliot Ledwards and Billy Buckley before Eagles skipper Harvey Collins found Louis Downs on the edge of the box but he just failed to control the ball. Eccleshall were getting back into the game but it was Sandbach who went further in front on 16 minutes when Lewis Grocott was outpaced down the flank and the cross into the box was only partially cleared by Johnson to Buckley and his powerful drive flashed past Owen Wyatt to find the bottom corner of the net. This was a setback but then Nwatchukwu found Downs and his low drive was saved by Sandbach keeper Ryan Moss before being cleared off the line. With half time approaching, a cross by Kieran Garner-Knapper was held by Wyatt before Izaak Walsh fired over the bar after good Eagles build up play.
HT: Sandbach United 2 Eccleshall 0
With the second half under way, Eccleshall were playing well and still looking for a goal to get them back in the game. A ball into the box by Nwachukwu was gathered by Moss as George Burslem ran in and Tom Wakefield came on for Izaak Walsh to add a greater threat for a goal. At the other end, Garner-Knapper headed over when well placed. Eccleshall pulled one back on 71 minutes when Burslem was allowed to turn and his thumping drive was tipped on to the bar by Moss and as the ball bounced down, Downs was there to head in the rebound. However, on 78 minutes, Sandbach restored their two goal advantage when two half challenges failed to clear the Eagles lines and Aidan Haughton was left to push the ball past Wyatt. Serkari Ahmadi and Bradley Carr were brought on to try and push for another goal and Eagles almost did this when a quickly taken free kick led to Luke Walsh firing just past the post. Eccleshall kept pressing and got their reward on 88 minutes when Luke Walsh hit a 'screamer' from twenty yards into the top corner giving Moss no chance. All this came to nothing in added time when a long clearance by Moss pierced the Eagles defence and with Wyatt stranded, Jordan Davies slotted into an empty net to give Sandbach their fourth and secure the three points.
In spite of the defeat, the new Eagles management team will have been encouraged by the battling performance and a number of positives to build on going in to their next match.
FT: Sandbach United 4 Eccleshall 2
Eagles: Wyatt, Grocott, Dunn, Benton, Johnson, Collins, Nwachukwu (Carr), I.Walsh (Wakefield), Burslem (Ahmadi), L. Walsh, Downs.
Unused subs: Davies, Van der Laan.
Referee: Mr. Jack Birch
Eccleshall are away again this coming Saturday when they travel to Wythenshawe Town (3pm).
Updated 10:53 - 12 Feb 2019 by Antony Johnson