Jared Rance’s first-half penalty helped East Preston Football Club secure their spot in the FA Cup first-round qualifying on Saturday.
Rance slammed home a spot-kick seven minutes before the break as Bob Paine’s side ran out 1-0 victors at Ryman League South Division side Tooting & Mitcham United in their preliminary-round encounter.
EP were more than a match for a side that play two steps higher than them and fully deserved the victory.
East Preston boss Paine admitted it was a great occasion for his young side and said: “These young EP players thoroughly deserved the victory. It was not a fluke, every one of the squad played their part in what is a special day for the club.
“They showed maturity beyond their years and they should be very proud of what they have done. These results don’t just happen it takes a lot of work on the training ground as well as great attitude and commitment.”
Tooting were quick out of the blocks and a couple of fine saves from EP stopper Chris Cook kept the scores level in the opening 20 minutes.
Paine’s team then had a slight scare as Danny Bassett saw a 23rd-minute strike chalked off for offside.
EP grew into the game with Rance earning his side a spot-kick seven minutes before the break. He was hauled to the ground by Antonio Simeone before stepping up and firing his side ahead.
Following a tackle on the hour, EP’s Matt Smith had to be stretchered off but the full extent of his injury is not yet known.
Dan Huet was gifted a golden chance to all but book his side’s progress on 65 minutes. Tenny Adebowale’s wayward pass found Huet but with just Matt Pierson in Tooting’s goal to beat, he pulled off a vital stop.
As time ran down, Tooting pushed more men forward and Cook was called into action late on, saving Bassett’s strike, as East Preston pocketed £1,925 in prize money for the win.
Paine’s side now have a home tie with three divisions higher Merstham on Saturday, September 3.
EAST PRESTON: Cook, Josh Parazo, Jacob Parazo, Witten, Lyne, M.Smith, Rance, Hardman, Huet, Barnes, Hunter. Subs: Jones (Witten), Hallett (M.Smith), H.Smith (Huet), Punter, Beaney, Bull, Chalaye
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