A late own goal ensured East Preston Football Club salvaged a point in their Southern Combination League Division 1 clash at Seaford Town on Saturday.
Jamie Buckett’s strike ten minutes from time looked to have sealed it for Town but EP snatched a late leveller. Jack Barnes’ corner was headed into his own net by a Seaford defender three minutes from the end as it ended 1-1.
The game was marred by a horrific injury to East Preston’s Matt Smith after 23 minutes. Following a hefty challenge, Smith was taken to hospital for an X-ray, which revealed he had shattered his collarbone in three pieces.
EP boss Bob Paine hopes the defender makes a speedy recovery and said: “Our thoughts after the game were on how Matt Smith was and finding out the shocking news that he has shattered his collarbone in three pieces. I’m so disappointed for him as he has formed a great partnership at the heart of our defence with Tom Lyne and hope his recovery will be a speedy one.
“As for the game, we played some great football again but we are going through a sticky patch at the moment in front of goal.
“We just need to keep calm and not panic as it will come right and we’ve just got to keep playing the proper way.”
EP came under great pressure in the opening 45 minutes and keeper Chris Cook was forced into several saves. Despite all the action, Smith’s 23rd minute injury marred events.
EP were much better in the second half and wasted a number of openings. Dylan Barnes skewed a shot wide after meeting Jared Rance’s cross on 58 minutes, before Jack Barnes saw a header saved by Ben Head eight minutes later.
Despite East Preston’s dominance, it was the home side who went ahead. Buckett was left unmarked, with time in the area, and he fired past Cook.
With time running out, an own goal helped Paine’s side salvage a point. Jack Barnes’ cross was attacked by Matt Hardman, which forced a Seaford defender to head into his own net three minutes before the end.
East Preston then exited the Sussex Senior Cup 1-0 away to division-higher Hassocks on Tuesday evening.
In a game of few chances, Hassocks got the only goal 18 minutes from time when Michael Death headed home Nathan Miles’ cross.
Rance had EP’s best efforts, with chances saved either side of the goal.
Paine said: “I was pleased with the way we played but it was always going to be one goal that would settle it and unfortunately for us they got it.”
EP entertain Langney Wanderers in the league on Saturday and then host division-higher Worthing United in the Peter Bentley Cup on Tuesday.
EAST PRESTON v Seaford Town: Cook; Josh Parazo, Jacob Parazo, Hardman, Lyne, M.Smith, Rance, J.Barnes, D.Barnes, Huet, H.Smith. Subs: Etherington (Smith), Laughlin (D.Barnes), Taylor (H.Smith), Hallett, Purkis. v Hassocks: Cook; Josh Parazo, Lyne, Etherington, Jacob Parazo; Hallett, J.Barnes, Bull; Huet, Taylor, Rance. Subs: Laughlin (Hallett 72), D.Barnes, H.Smith (Taylor, Huet 81), Purkis, Hardman.