East Preston Football Club produced a stunning comeback to end the Southern Combination League Premier Division campaign with a win on Saturday.
EP looked out of it as they trailed 3-1 at Crawley Down Gatwick soon after the restart but three goals in 14 second half minutes saw Bob Paine’s side come out on top in a seven-goal final day thriller.
East Preston boss Paine felt the win was a perfect way to complete their first season back in the SCFL Premier Division.
He said: “We showed what we are capable of, playing some great football and scoring some excellent goals. “For my young side to show the character and desire to come back from 3-1 down was outstanding.
“It was a great trip home on the coach and afterwards at one of our sponsors, the Valley Bar, where we celebrated a solid season back at this level.
“The group of players we have at the club are great footballers who are a tight group, which showed when we needed everyone to stick together to get us out of a difficult situation.
“We have come so far this season, it’s time now to rest and have some time off before we regroup in June as we start to prepare for the new season.”
East Preston started on the front foot, taking the lead after four minutes. Dan Huet’s neat pass picked out Jake Heryet who fired past the goalkeeper.
The home side were level three minutes later as Billy Wraight raced clear and beat Ben Purkis.
A crazy opening ten minutes was then complete, with Crawley Down completing the turnaround. Daniel Sullivan was quickest to react following a smart Purkis save, poking into the empty net.
East Preston continued to play some good football, creating chances but were unable to get back level before the break.
The home side added a third five minutes after the restart through Wraight again as they looked to have put the game beyond East Preston.
However, EP had a lifeline minutes later when Ryan Quirke found Brodie to tap home.
The best goal of the afternoon came two minutes later as the visitors drew level.
A fantastic run from centre-half saw him exchange passes with frontman Huet, the former then found Quirke who fired an effort across goal and into the bottom corner.
East Preston were now in the ascendancy so nearly taking the lead through Huet on the hour. The winning goal would come 20 minutes from time as Heryet bagged his second to seal a 4-3 victory.
EAST PRESTON: Purkis; Josh Parazo, Lyne, Etherington, DaCosta; Searle, Barnes; Heryet, Quirke, Brodie; Huet. Subs: Nicholson (Quirke, 80), Lelliott (Searle, 86), Bird, Laughlin, Donaldson.