Crawley Down Gatwick secure fine win at East Preston

Marc Pelling
Marc Pelling

Crawley Down Gatwick inflicted only a second home league defeat of the season on East Preston at the Lashmar on Saturday in the SCFL Premier Division with a fine 1-0 win.

The Anvils lost to the same opponents 5-0 at the Haven barely ten days ago, in the Sussex Senior Cup, and from the outset they displayed a steely determination to avoid any repeat of that below par performance.

In reality that home defat and particularly the manner and magnitude of it was completely at odds with what has been a largely satisfactory season so far for the Anvils.

They had already bounced back with an impressive 4-0 away win at Lingfield last Saturday so East Preston will have known that the fixture would be much more of a challenge this time around.

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Both teams had chances in the first half but a combination of poor finishing and good defending ensured that the score remained goalless in the early stages of the match.

For the home side Dan Huet and Dave Beaney went close and at the other end it is fair to say that the normally reliable Oli Leslie could have had a first half hat-trick.

Although the hard working Leslie must wonder how he failed to get on the score sheet, great credit has to go to home keeper George Bentley who made a number of important saves to ensure he kept his side in the game.

Crawley Down took the lead on 39 mins when an Oli Leslie cross into the box found big centre back Marc Pelling and he made no mistake with his header from close in.

Half time saw the visitors ahead 1-0. East Preston started the second half on the front foot and the Anvils had to withstand some sustained pressure.

With man of the match Marc Pelling, in particular, in truly outstanding form Crawley Down defended resolutely and always looked dangerous on the break.

Ultimately despite their best efforts East Preston were unable to make the breakthrough and Crawley Down held on for a really hard earned and well-deserved away win.

The game was good to watch and played in the right spirit and the win maintains the Anvils sixth position in the league table.

Crawley Down Gatwick: Andy Greaves, Sonny Barton, Billy Wraight, Michael Spence (Michael Belli), Blair Cooney (Sam Packham), Marc Pelling, Russell Malton, Josh Brown (Lee Thomas), Sam Cane, Oli Leslie, Michael Wood. Unused Subs: Andy Goodwin, Josh Martin.