East Preston Football Club boss Bob Paine was left frustrated after his side exited the Peter Bentley Cup last night.
A double from the penalty spot for Matt Hards and an effort from substitute George Rudwick sent EP to a 3-1 extra-time third-round defeat at the hands of division-higher Worthing United.
Paine was left perplexed at both penalty decisions and felt his team deserved a lot more from the cup clash.
He said: “I thought we had most of the game, played quite well and continued to battle throughout.
“The two penalties were quite harsh for my liking and then it is always difficult to try to get back in the game.
“First time around, we did manage to get back in it but then the second penalty in extra-time left us in real trouble.
“We were chasing the game, which then left us open for the third one.
“I feel a bit for our boys in the changing room because yet again against a team from a division above, we gave a good account of ourselves.
“We had a goal disallowed, then missed a couple of really good opportunities, but sometimes things go for you and on other occasions they don’t seem to.”
The sides cancelled each other out in the first half but EP felt they should have gone in ahead.
Tom Lyne’s ball into the box was headed home by Josh Etherington on 21 minutes but the linesman’s flag was raised for offside.
That killer final pass or a bit of quality in the final third was lacking, before a frantic final ten minutes.
Jack Barnes fouled Hards with a spot-kick awarded eight minutes from the end. Hards stepped up and sent Chris Cook the wrong way as Mavericks looked to have won it.
EP’s response was superb and they were level five minutes later. Dominic Taylor was allowed time to turn and shoot in the area, his effort going in off a post.
Taylor’s strike forced extra-time but Mavericks went ahead for a second time on 101 minutes. Jacob Parazo went into a rash challenge on Tom Watson, with a second penalty awarded. Hards stepped up once again, this time going down the middle, to make it 2-1.
Inevitably East Preston pushed for a leveller but they were caught on the counter three minutes from the end. Watson and Rudwick combined, with the latter coolly slotting past Cook to ensure United’s progress.
EP return to league action with a trip to the Withdean Stadium to take on AFC Varndeanians on Saturday.
Paine is hoping for a quick response from his players.
He added: “We were never going to win this competition and our sole focus this season is the league.
“The aim for myself and the players is to get out of Division 1 and we hope to do that this season.”
EAST PRESTON: Cook; Joshua Parazo, Lyne, Etheringron, Jacob Parazo; Hallett, Barnes; Bull, Huet, Taylor; Rance. Subs: Laughlin (Huet), Hunter (Bull), Hardman, Beaney, Purkis.
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