A superb second half performance helped East Preston progress past SCFL Premier Division rivals Eastbourne United in the FA Vase on Saturday.
Bob Paine’s side had to twice come from behind in the first half before unanswered efforts from Jack Barnes, Jacob Heryet and Luke Brodie after the restart sealed what turned out to be a comprehensive 5-2 victory in a first round qualifying clash at The Lashmar.
Eastbourne United took the lead on two occasions but East Preston hit back through goals from Barnes and Brodie as it was 2-2 at the break.
Paine’s troops looked a different proposition in the second half, netting three times to progress - bagging £550 in prize money and a home second round qualifying date with league rivals Broadbridge Heath on Saturday week.
East Preston boss Paine was impressed by the second half showing, after such a lacklustre first 45 minutes.
He said: “We were very poor in the first half, I’ve not seen us that poor for a very long time. It just seemed the harder we tried the worse it got. We couldn’t pass the ball, couldn’t retain possession, kept giving the ball away and generally trying to force things. I guess on a positive note we played poorly but still came in on level terms. Second half we were much better and played some good football at times and eventually got on top of Eastbourne.
“It’s always good to progress in a national competition and we look forward to playing Broadbridge Heath at The Lashmar in the next round.”
A mistake by centre-back Matt Searle was punished by Tyler O’Callaghan, who fired Eastbourne in front after five minutes.
EP were back on terms 17 minutes later courtesy of Barnes’ left-foot strike.
Forward Brodie gave away a penalty on the half-hour, which Terry Dodd fired home to make it 2-1. But Brodie made up for his mistake two minutes later, superbly curling home a free-kick. East Preston were much more positive after the restart, taking the lead for the first time on 52 minutes. Another left-foot strike from Barnes beat Charlie Barnard in Eastbourne’s goal. Defender James Lelliott hacked clear on the goalline as United nearly levelled two minutes later.
Substitute Lucas Pattenden was a threat after coming off the bench. His header sent Heryet clear and he fired home from a tight angle eight minutes from time.
Another substitute, Ryan Quirke, was brought down in the area in stoppage time, with Brodie firing home the resulting spot-kick to wrap up a 5-2 victory.
EAST PRESTON: Purkis; DaCosta, Searle, Lelliott; Jenkins, Rafferty, Barnes, Heryet, Tilley; Huet, Brodie. Subs: Pattenden (Tilley, 63), Quirke (Rafferty, 71), Beaney (Barnes, 81), Fernandes, Pidgeon.
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