East Preston Football Club produced a five-star performance as they won for the ninth successive match on Saturday.
All of the top six in Southern Combination League Division 1 won so EP, who eased to victory at home to Ringmer, remain second in the table, a point behind leaders Saltdean with a game in hand.
The first chance of the match fell to EP’s Dan Huet after just 18 seconds. Ryan Hallett and Hayden Hunter combined, before the latter’s cross found Huet in the six-yard box but he could not control his shot and blasted over.
East Preston then went close twice in quick succession midway through the first half. Tom Lyne headed a Conor Bull corner just wide on 22 minutes, before Lukas Franzen-Jones was denied by the offside flag following excellent work by Lyne four minutes later.
The hosts did go ahead on 37 minutes when Hunter fed Jacob Parazo, who fired home a left-footed shot from the edge of the penalty area for his first goal of the season.
EP doubled their lead three minutes later when Hallett glanced a header home from a Franzen-Jones free kick, also for his first goal of the campaign.
A positive start to the second half saw EP control the game but they had to wait until the 77th minute to get the third goal and put the result beyond doubt.
From a Jared Rance corner, Josh Etherington met the ball at the far post to make no mistake to score his fifth goal of the season.
Etherington then scored his sixth goal of the season 11 minutes later when he headed home another Rance corner.
The fifth goal came in the final minute when Bull side-footed home after excellent work by Jack Barnes down the right.
East Preston boss Bob Paine said: “This has been a fantastic week at the football club. The under-21s beat Steyning 6-1 on Thursday and the first team beat Ringmer today 5-0. It was announced we had won the respect award for the third period in a row and the SCFL confirmed that East Preston were Division 1 team of the month for January.
“The whole playing squad should be very proud of themselves as they’ve all had their part to play in getting us to where we are.
“Having said that, we have achieved nothing yet. With nine league games to go, we have put ourselves in a great position but that’s all we have done.
“All the positivity around the club at the moment will count for nothing if we do not get promoted. We need to keep working hard in training and in matches to ensure we don’t have any regrets come the end of the season.
“Once again today, we were excellent and scored some great goals and the only problem I have at the moment is picking the team. It’s a great problem to have and one I hope continues until the end of the season.”
EP host St Francis in the league on Saturday.
EAST PRESTON: Cook; Stevenson, Jacob Parazo, Hallett, Lyne, Etherington, Bull, Gilbertson, Huet, Franzen-Jones, Hunter. Subs: Barnes (Gilbertson 62), Rance (Franzen-Jones 74), Josh Parazo, Taylor, Purkis.
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