ST PRESTON Football Club hosted Worthing United at the Lashmar on Friday evening, with both teams going into the game on the back of conceding eight goals in their previous games – so inevitably this fixture was destined to be scoreless, although the game was not lacking in action.
The visitors dominated the first half as Paul Ettridge opted to set his EP side up in a defensive formation. This worked well for the hosts who restricted Nigel Geary’s men to long-range efforts and set-pieces for the first half-hour, none of which really tested the inexperienced Ben Purkis in the home goal.
The problem for EP was that when they did win the ball there were so few options that it almost immediately got handed back to the Mavericks, with the pressure bound to tell at some point.
United should have taken the lead in the 32nd minute as Sam Blundell got to the byline and crossed to Paul Elliott on the back post who managed to hit the woodwork from a yard.
This was the start of some sustained pressure as another golden opportunity came for the visitors after 43 minutes when Wayne Joseph’s mazy run and shot was tipped onto the post by Purkis, with the ball rebounding to Blundell, whose powerful drive was deflected to safety via the home keeper’s face.
The second period saw Purkis called into action again as he saved well low to his right from Pat Rose’s effort in the 48th minute.
EP seemed to grow in confidence, with Ben Piner curling a 20-yard effort just wide after 65 minutes but their best chance of the game came seven minutes from time as substitute Craig Rennie was sent through on goal by Louis Coulson but dithered over his finish, eventually shooting wide under pressure.
The hosts had another chance in the final minute of normal time after Jake Cockerton robbed Lee Eastman and sent in an inviting cross but neither Rennie nor Neil Munday could offer a decisive touch.
Mavericks could have nicked it in the second minute of added time but Lawrence Edwards could not keep his header down from five yards.
EP head coach Ettridge said: “We rode our luck a little bit tonight but the lads battled really well and deserved their point. We had a few making debuts and we’re building this season, so it was a really pleasing performance.”
EAST PRESTON: Purkis; Atterbury, Smith, Barnard, John, Coulson, Munday, Loughlin, Chikowore, Piner, Cockerton. Subs: Rennie (Chikowore 75), Bassett (Barnard 83), Vine.
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