Bob Paine could not fault East Preston’s efforts - despite his side slipping to defeat at SCFL Premier Division strugglers Little Common last night.
Ryan Alexander’s 26th-minute strike was enough to take Common to a 1-0 win at The Oval.
East Preston made the trip looking to build on the much-needed triumph over Shoreham last time out, although they came up short.
However, boss Paine felt his side’s ‘dominant’ display should have seen them rewarded with something.
“I couldn’t fault the group for their effort and we played some great football at times,” Paine said.
“It was a first-class performance which maybe is a strange thing to say given we lost, but I was very pleased with how we played.
“We totally dominated the match at Little Common without doing the most important thing – score.
“It was another harsh lesson for our players but we will keep believing in the way we play. We had numerous chances which on another day, would have seen us win comfortably but it just wasn’t to be.”
Paine spoke of his relief as East Preston ended a run of six SCFL Premier Division matches without a win on Saturday.
A first-half strike from Lucas Pattenden and efforts after the restart from Asa Nicholson and a Jake Heryet free-kick sealed a 3-0 victory for EP over struggling Shoreham at The Lashmar.
East Preston had lost their previous three league matches in succession.
But Paine is hopeful the win against Mussels can be a turning point.
He said: “It was a complete performance with a clean sheet.
“We took some of our chances and showed a lot of character so I was very pleased.
“When we were doing well and beating a lot of top sides, that was on the basis of keeping clean sheets.
“We’ve struggled recently with that and given away silly goals as well as not taking our chances. But we were back to normal against Shoreham.”
East Preston got off to a perfect start, taking the lead on six minutes.
Pattenden’s scuffed strike just crossed the line after Shoreham failed to clear their lines.
East Preston should have been out of sight by the break.
Yet Shoreham spurned a great chance to level minutes before the interval as Harvey Dunk’s glancing header went just wide. Shoreham stopper James Broadbent pulled off a fine save to deny Heryet five minutes after the break.
But the hosts did have a second on 55 minutes. Broadbent could only parry into the path of Nicholson, who was on hand to double East Preston’s lead.
It looked a long way back for Mussels now and Bob Paine’s men added a third seven minutes from time.
Heryet curled home a superb free-kick to leave Broadbent with no chance.
East Preston had a chance to grab another in the closing stages but it finished 3-0.
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