Bob Paine was left frustrated after he saw his East Preston Football Club side suffer their first Southern Combination League Division 1 defeat this season on Saturday.
Goals in each half from Jason Goddard and Joe McTiffen handed Saltdean United a 2-1 victory at The Lashmar.
Heading into the contest, Paine had seen his side collect four wins and a draw for their opening five league matches.
However, an experienced United outfit undone them for the first time in the league.
Paine admitted his disappointment after the defeat and said: “Saltdean was a big disappointment for all of us. We allowed ourselves to be dragged down to their level, which was exactly the game plan they had.
“I can imagine for the spectator it was not a good game to watch, the numerous stoppages made it difficult for us to get any rhythm in our play.
“We do have to remember we are a young team, still learning and Saturday did show a lack of experience.”
Goddard headed Saltdean ahead with 29 minutes on the clock.
Poor marking from East Preston’s backline left Goddard with acres of space and he headed past Jimmy Punter.
EP were back in the game a minutes before the interval.
Jacob Parazo’s precise through-ball found Jared Rance, whose thunderbolt struck the underside of the bar and went in.
The home side had Punter to thank for keeping them level after the interval.
Matt Geard’s long-range effort looked destined for the top-corner but Punter somehow tipped over.
Saltdean had a succession of corners and long throw-ins and that’s where their winner came from.
Failure to deal with a long throw saw McTiffen fire home to make it 2-1 after 52 minutes.
EP came close to grabbing a late leveller but Josh Etherington headed over.
East Preston host fellow Division 1 outfit Oakwood for a Sussex RUR Charity Cup second-round clash on Tuesday.
EAST PRESTON: Punter; Jacob Parazo, Josh Parazo, Hardman, Etherington, Smith, Rance, Lyne, Huet, J.Barnes, Hunter. Subs: Taylor (Huet), D.Barnes (Hardman), Brown, Beaney, Purkis.
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