Rance stars as EP hit six to seal semi-final spot

Jared Rance celebrates with his team-mates after netting on Saturday. Picture by Terry Buckman
Jared Rance celebrates with his team-mates after netting on Saturday. Picture by Terry Buckman

Jared Rance scored four times as East Preston Football Club hit Steyning Town for six to seal a place in the Southern Combination League Division 1 Cup semi-finals on Saturday.

As well as Rance’s quadruple, Dan Huet also bagged a brace as EP romped to an emphatic 6-1 quarter-final success on at The Shooting Field.

Despite making four changes to the team that beat promotion rivals Mile Oak in the league last week, East Preston still had way too much for Town.

EP boss Bob Paine felt the win showed what strength in depth he has in his young squad and said: “This was a terrific performance from the team finished off with four goals for Jared and two for Dan.

“It was a great pitch to play on and it suited us perfectly. We showed how good we can be and some of our passing and movement was first class.

“Our pace going forward created lots of problems for Steyning and our finishing was excellent. We now have a semi-final to look forward to but we must forget that now and concentrate on league points.

“My problem now is picking the team for our league game at Steyning on Saturday, but what a great problem to have as a manager.”

East Preston seemed to enjoy playing on Steyning’s state-of-the-art 3G surface and went ahead after 16 minutes. Oliver Stevenson, who was making his first start since joining last month, sent Rance clear and he fired past Darren Ford in Steyning’s goal.

It got better for EP seven minutes later as Rance notched his second of the afternoon. This time Hayden Hunter sent Rance away and the forward stayed calm and fired home.

Rance then completed a 36-minute hat-trick with another assured finish. Josh Etherington’s long-ball was taken in Rance’s stride and he then rounded Ford, before slotting into an empty net.

EP nearly had a fourth five minutes before the break but Huet saw his strike come back off the bar from six yards.

Steyning could not deal with Rance and he was involved in EP’s fourth on the hour. Clever play from the forward saw him work some room, before teeing up Huet and he slammed home his first.

A fifth came 20 minutes from time as Rance’s curling left-footed free-kick found the top corner, before Huet made it 6-0 three minutes from time.

Romain’s thunderbolt pulled one back less than a minute later but that proved to be just a consolation for Steyning.

EP make the trip to Steyning in the league on Saturday, trailing their third-placed opposition by just a point and place in the table.

EAST PRESTON: Cook; Josh Parazo, Etherington, Smith, Jacob Parazo; Hallett, Stevenson; Bull, Rance, Hunter; Huet. Subs: Taylor (Hunter, 71), Franzen-Jones (Rance, 74), Gilbertson (Hallett, 78), Lyne, Purkis.

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