Hunter’s brace helps EP to opening-day win

Jack Barnes played the full 90 minutes for East Preston yesterday. Picture: Stephen Goodger
Jack Barnes played the full 90 minutes for East Preston yesterday. Picture: Stephen Goodger

Hayden Hunter was at the double as East Preston Football Club got their Southern Combination League Division 1 campaign up and running with an emphatic 4-1 home win over Lingfield on Saturday.

An excellent display of passing, movement and a clinical edge in front of goal saw Bob Paine’s side race into a 4-0 lead at half-time.

In the second half, EP failed to meet such a high standard but by then the damage was done and they kicked things off with a league triumph.

Hunter got the opener on nine minutes following a free-flowing move. Matt Smith and Lee Mottershead exchanged passes, before finding Jack Barnes whose crossfield pass was met by Hunter to rifle home.

EP had goalkeeper Chris Cook to thank for keeping things level three minutes later after he pulled off a fine stop to prevent Nathan Hall.

That save was made all the more crucial with 14 minutes on the clock as Jared Rance curled a delicious strike into the top corner.

Barnes then added a third just after the half-hour with a fine turn and finish from just outside the box.

Hunter wrapped up all three points for East Preston five minutes before the interval as he latched onto Barnes’ pass to fire into the bottom corner.

Matt Capon pulled one back for Lingfield three minutes after the break but EP held on for a comfortable opening day victory.

Paine admitted it was a great way to start their league challenge and said: “In the first half Lingfield could not really cope with our pace, passing and movement.

“Chris Cook had to save a one-on-one at 1-0, so things could have been different.

“I thought we were excellent throughout, the first half going forward and our finishing was top drawer. In the second, we had to dig in defensively and after conceding early in the half showed some great determination to win the three points.”

EAST PRESTON: Cook, Josh Parazo, Jacob Parazo, Witten, Etherington, Smith, Rance, Mottershead, Barnes, Hunter, Huet. Subs: Hardman (Josh Parazo), Jones (Mottershead), Smith (Rance), Punter, Beaney.

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