Lewis Hole hit a hat-trick as East Preston Football Club were knocked off top spot in Southern Combination League Division 1 on Saturday.
Hole struck once in the opening 45 minutes, then twice in the second as former league leaders Little Common sent EP crashing to a 3-0 defeat - their first league loss away from home this season.
A phenomenal run of ten consecutive wins helped them go top last week, but Saltdean United’s win - coupled with East Preston dropping points - ensured they went back to the summit.
With seven games left to play this season, EP trail current leaders Saltdean by two points, though, they do have a game in hand.
Despite the defeat, East Preston boss Bob Paine is confident his side can bounce back in the remaining matches.
He said: “I think we need to have some perspective, this was our first defeat since December, 10. This is also our first loss on the road all season, having won all previous ten league matches in a row.
“It is still in our young players’ hands and we’ve already shown we can bounce back from a setback.
“We worked really hard, hit the post twice and the bar but it just wasn’t to be our day.”
EP made the early running with Jared Rance denied by a post, then the crossbar in the opening 20 minutes.
A mix-up between Tom Lyne and Josh Etherington, allowed Hole in behind and he put Little Common ahead on the half-hour.
Hole then headed home his and Common’s second two minutes after the restart to put them in control.
EP were again denied by a post, this time Jack Barnes header came back out on the hour.
Common then wrapped up the victory and Hole completed his hat-trick with the last kick of the game.
The forward found himself in acres of room and slotted past Ben Purkis to send East Preston to defeat.
EP make the trip to rivals Midhurst & Easebourne in the league on Saturday.
EAST PRESTON: Purkis; Stevenson, Lyne, Etherington, Lyne, Jacob Parazo; Hallett, Barnes; Bull, Franzen-Jones, Rance; Huet. Subs: Gilbertson (Franzen-Jones, 64), Taylor (Bull, 76), Boyle, Smith, Josh Parazo.
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