Second spot in SCFL premier is in-form Littlehampton's reward
Littlehampton Town notched their fifth win in six league games on Wednesday evening but East Preston made them work hard for their 3-0 win which lifts Golds into second place in the table.
The visitors belied their lowly position in the table frustrating the hosts for much of the first half although both sides had chances in be in front before half time.
Dion Jarvis should have given the hosts the lead inside the opening five minutes, but Sam Marsden was equal to his shot while leading scorer Joe Benn dragged his shot wide of Marsden’s fair post with 23 minutes on the clock.
The East Preston keeper was again called into action just after the half hour mark to keep the scores level while at the other end, Shane Brazil had East Preston’s best chance of the half two minutes before the break but shot straight at James Binfield having worked his way in behind the Town defence.
The opening goal came just one minute into the second half, a ball across from the right hand side found Dave Herbert unmarked in the middle of the penalty area and despite a small suspicion of handball, the midfielder slotted home to break the deadlock.
Nine minutes later Benn was on hand to tap the ball home after Marsden had saved well from Lucas Pattenden’s shot across goal and was also called into action after the hour mark to deny Jarvis and then Scott Packer as Littlehampton looked to make the game safe.
The visitors had further chances to pull a goal back, firstly Brazil shooting wide of Binfield’s goal followed by Lew Broughton unable to get any purchase on a well worked free kick.
Golds made sure of the points in the 89th minute as Packer headed home from a yard out following a mazy run by Jarvis which finished with the ball coming back off the crossbar for the substitute to make no mistake. Jarvis himself had a goal ruled out for offside in the final minute as Golds impressive run continued whilst East Preston remain in the bottom two.
East Preston boss Simon Hull was in a positive mood after the game and was pleased with how his side approached the game.
Hull said, ‘I couldn’t have asked any more from my lads in terms of effort and application. We worked incredibly hard, the shape and game plan worked well and we created a couple of gilt edged opportunities for ourselves.’
‘There are no easy games at this level so we would never allow the group to take anyone for granted and now we focus on the weekend game which will be another good test for our young group.’
Hull’s opposite number Mitch Hand was pleased with how his side faired in a tough game with one eye on the weekend.
Hand said, ‘We fully expected a tough game and that’s exactly what we got. We know Simon well and we knee he’d have his boys well organised and hard working and they were. Had they taken their chances it could have been very different.’
Looking ahead to the weekend, Hand admits there’s no pressure on his side and is plotting another upset.
Hand said, ‘We know we’re going into the game as underdogs and we don’t mind that. They will be expected to win so we will just enjoy the occasion and hope for another upset. There will be a big crowd and it’s great to see so much momentum building around the club and the team, it’s well deserved.’
Golds take a break from league action this Sunday as they host Whitehawk in the Emirates FA Cup 1st Qualifying Round (ko 3pm) while East Preston host Crawley Down Gatwick on Saturday.
Golds: Binfield, Wiggins, Hand, Clark, Peake, Jenkins, Pattenden, Humphreys, Benn, Herbert, Jarvis. Subs: Packer, Litterick, Layton. Not used: Gaskin, Hunt
East Preston: Marsden, Parsons, Breedon, Franklin, Howick, Robinson, Storm, Geal, Brazil, Broughton, Newhouse. Subs: N. Amoo, E. Amoo, Lineham. Not used: Lago, Sparks.