Stuart backs East Preston to finish season strongly

East Preston suffered a fifth defeat in six league matches, going down at Langney Wanderers. Picture: Stephen Goodger
East Preston suffered a fifth defeat in six league matches, going down at Langney Wanderers. Picture: Stephen Goodger

Craig Stuart is confident East Preston can end the season strongly.

EP suffered a fifth SCFL Premier Division defeat in six matches, going down 2-0 at Langney Wanderers on Saturday.

Despite the defeat East Preston remained 14th in the table but the cushion between them and the bottom six was closed to just six points.

A wretched run has left Bob Paine’s troops looking over their shoulders with 11 games still to play this season.

But East Preston coach Stuart insists his side are just one win away from putting a run of results together.

He said: “We are a young side, we are making one or two mistakes and are being punished which does not happen all the time.

“However, the team is working hard in training and I’m sure once we get our next win we will grow in confidence and finish the season strongly.”

East Preston started well and the first chance fell to them. Tom Lyne headed Jake Heryet’s cross towards goal but Daniel Hutchins pulled off a fine save.

Full-back Dave Beaney then curled a free-kick around the wall but once again Hutchins kept East Preston at bay.

Keeper George Bentley, who featured in parent club Brighton’s FA Youth Cup defeat at Everton in the week, was called into action for the first time soon after and kept out Richard Pingling’s stinging effort.

It was the visitors who were having the better of the chances. This time Lucas Pattenden teed up Heryet, whose shot was blocked. Lewis Jenkins then fired over the rebound.

But those misses came back to cost East Preston, with Langney taking the lead ten minutes before the break.

Pingling was left unmarked in the area, making no mistake to head past Bentley from ten yards. Heryet then drove wide from all of eight yards as East Preston trailed at the break.

The visitors had a huge let-off four minutes after the restart. Lyne’s pass went straight to Pingling.

He rounded Bentley but fired wide. But Langney grabbed a second through Tyler Capon 15 minutes from time to take control.

East Preston thought they’d pulled a goal back to set up a thrilling finale, only for Sam Pidgeon’s effort to be ruled out for offside.

Coach Stuart added: “I felt that we should or could have got something from the game.

“We created more chances than the opposition but were not clinical enough which I believe is down to lacking in confidence.”

East Preston will be searching for a first league win in over a month when they welcome Shoreham on Saturday.

EAST PRESTON: Bentley; Beaney, Rafferty, Jenkins, Lyne, Pidgeon, Pattenden, Barnes, Heryet, Huet, Nicholson. Subs: Brodie (Heryet, 72), Collins (Rafferty, 78), Slaughter, Etherington, Crook.

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