East Preston need to 'step up and show some character'

Asa Nicholson struck as East Preston suffered a surprise defeat against Eastbourne Town. Picture: Stephen Goodger
Asa Nicholson struck as East Preston suffered a surprise defeat against Eastbourne Town. Picture: Stephen Goodger

Bob Paine expressed his concerns after East Preston succumbed to a SCFL Premier Division defeat to basement boys Eastbourne United on Saturday.

Asa Nicholson’s opener was not enough for EP as they went down 3-2 in a thriller.

That extended the club’s winless run to five matches and made it just one victory in their past eight fixtures.

East Preston’s alarming form has seen them drop to 14th in the table, although they do have a 12-point cushion over Little Common in the relegation zone.

But boss Paine acknowledged the need for his team to turn things around quickly.

“We’ve scored two goals in each of the last three matches but only taken a point because defensively as a team we have given away some poor goals,” Paine said.

“If we are not careful we will be dragged down into a relegation battle and its time for all of us to step up show some real character to get us out of this poor run of results.”

Manager Paine made two changes from the team that lost narrowly to leaders Chichester City last time out.

Dave Beaney and Lucas Pattenden replaced Jake Heryet and Luke Brodie.

The first half saw EP dominate possession and could have been at least three goals up at the break.

The hosts had the opener on 16 minutes. Josh Etherington found Pattenden on the right and his excellent cross picked out Nicholson on the edge of the six yard box, who made no mistake with his tenth goal of the season. Jack Barnes thought he’d doubled East Preston’s advantage, only for his effort to be ruled out for offside on 31 minutes.

A poor backpass from Josh Etherington was missed by goalkeeper George Bentley, allowing Christopher Cumming-Bart to level seven minutes later.

Eastbourne were having more possession in the second half and took the lead on the hour when Sam Schaaf scored his first goal of the match.

The lead only lasted five minutes, though, as the ball came out to Tom Lyne on the edge of the box and his half-volley flew into the corner of the net. However, the deciding goal came on 71 minutes. East Preston gave the ball away and a quick break from Eastbourne saw the ball switched to the right and a great cross found Schaaf all alone in the six yard box to head home.

Boss Paine felt his side should have been out of sight before allowing Eastbourne back in.

He said: “I was very pleased with our first-half performance and we should have killed the game by half time as we could and should have been out of sight.

“In the end those missed chances cost us the match as our second half was as poor.

“More mistakes allowed them back in the match and our lack of confidence at the moment meant we stopped doing the things we were doing well in the first half.”

EAST PRESTON: Bentley; DaCosta, Beaney, Slaughter, Lyne, Etherington, Pattenden, Jenkins, Huet, Barnes, Nicholson. Subs: Heryet (Huet, 67), Brodie (Slaughter, 81), Crook, Pidegeon, Collins.

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