Nathan DaCosta’s strike proved the difference as East Preston clinched their spot in the first round of the FA Vase.
DaCosta’s powerful drive ten minutes from time went in via a post to wrap up a 1-0 second round qualifying triumph over SCFL Premier Division rivals Broadbridge Heath at The Lashmar on Saturday.
It was a tie that could have gone either way, but East Preston will be relieved to have reached the first round proper.
EP secured £725 in prize money for the victory and found out they will be making the trip to Southern Counties East Preston Division side Sheppey United for a first round clash on Saturday, October 13 earlier today.
Boss Bob Paine was impressed as his side progressed in the FA Vase and said: “It was another excellent performance from the group. Once again we played some good football, generally were in control of the match and as a team defended very well.
“Broadbridge Heath are a good, solid side with the second leading in our league up front so it was very pleasing to keep a clean sheet.
“It’s nice to progress to the first round proper of the FA Vase and we hope we can continue to progress further.”
East Preston made two changes from the team that let a two-goal lead slip in their home league clash with Hassocks last time out. Jack Collins took over in goal, while Scott Rafferty replaced Jack Barnes in midfield.
The home side started fast, with pace in attack causing Broadbridge’s backline no end of problems.
Livewire Luke Brodie twice tested former Worthing goalkeeper Kieron Thorp but the visitors’ stopper kept the scores level.
Marlon Maxwell could only head wide Broadbridge’s best chance of the half.
East Preston had to withstand some pressure after the restart with Collins equal to a long range effort.
Goalkeeper Collins was called in to action again 25 minutes from time, tipping over Maxwell’s header as the visitors continued to look dangerous.
Midfielder Ryan Quirke was starting to have more of an influence as the half wore on.
The East Preston players cross-come-shot was tipped over the bar. Lewis Jenkins then headed a Quirke corner wide as the home side pushed for a winner.
With ten minutes to go, the breakthrough finally came. Substitute Asa Nicholson put DaCosta through, he beat a defender seeing his shot hit the visiting goalkeeper then the post and hit a recovering defender on the line then going in.
Broadbridge Heath threw men forward in search of an equaliser which never came.
East Preston could have made it more convincing in the end but saw it out, clinching a 1-0 win.
EAST PRESTON: Collins; DaCosta, Lyne, Jenkins; Pattenden, Lelliot, Rafferty, Quirke, Beaney; Huet, Brodie. Subs: Heryet (Beaney, 51), Slaughter (Lelliott, 51), Nicholson (Brodie, 74), Tilley, Gilbey.
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