East Preston Football Club’s hopes of taking the Southern Combination League Division 1 title were dealt a blow on Saturday.
Dan Huet’s strike was cancelled out as Langney Wanderers staged a stunning second half fightback to run out 3-1 winners.
After starting the day as league leaders defeat for East Preston - coupled with Saltdean United taking all three points at Selsey - helped United go back to the summit with just a game to go this season.
EP sealed promotion last weekend with a win over Midhurst & Easebourne and had their sights firmly set on the league title.
After the latest round of results, any hopes of taking the Division 1 crown now lay with Saltdean.
East Preston travel to rivals Selsey on Easter Monday relying on AFC Varndeanians taking something against Saltdean if they are to bridge the two-point gap and finish above the current league leaders.
EP boss Bob Paine felt a lacklustre final half-hour was the ultimate factor in his side’s defeat at Langney.
He said: “We had a disappointing last 30 minutes after being in control for the first hour.
“One of our strengths this season has been our defence as a team but we seemed to lose our discipline and conceded some poor goals.
“After the league title being in our hands, it now isn’t, which is disappointing.
"I think we need to have some perspective as my young team have been fantastic this season and achieved our main goal of promotion.
“I think a long, hard season took its toll on the players in the final 30 minutes.
"For a lot of my squad this will be the first season they have played 46 senior matches in a season. They have learnt and developed so much over the campaign, played some great football and scored some excellent goals, we are all looking forward to playing in the Premier Division next season.”
Dan Huet’s header back across goal - after meeting Tom Lyne’s cross - fired East Preston in front eight minutes before the break.
Langney looked a different team in the second and completed the turnaround.
Paul Weatherby was left free to slot home on the hour, then Josh Etherington’s poor pass was intercepted by
Shane Saunders who found Luke Snashall to add a second seven minutes later.
Dom Clarke was then left unmarked to head home from eight yards ten minutes from time as East Preston fell to defeat.
EP’s season comes to a close at Selsey on Monday (11am) as they look apply the pressure and hope AFC Varndeanians take something against Saltdean.
EAST PRESTON: Cook; Stevenson, Lyne, Etherington, Jacob Parazo; Gilbertson, Barnes; Hunter, Rance, Herbert; Huet. Subs: Franzen-Jones (Barnes, 81), Smith, Josh Parazo, Hallett, Purkis.
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