AFTER a 5-0 home drubbing in their previous outing, East Preston Football Club bounced back in some style on Saturday with a 5-2 victory at high-flying local rivals Littlehampton.
EP fought back from a goal down at the Sportsfield on Saturday to win, despite being reduced to 10 men for the final half an hour.
The three points lifted East Preston three places up to 10th in County League Division 2 and condemned Golds to their first home league defeat of the season.
The hosts, on the back of a four-game unbeaten league run, had been brighter from the off and deservedly took the lead after seven minutes when Nathan Peacock burst through to score after latching on to a Jason Jarvis pass.
EP gradually began to find their rhythm and, after surviving a near miss when Matt Russell headed a free kick wide, nabbed an equaliser in somewhat fortuitous circumstances on 26 minutes. Adam Wilds’ effort was parried by Golds keeper Dean Fuller, straight into the path of the onrushing defender Chris Hazell, who was powerless to prevent the ball from cannoning off his shins and into his own net..
Tame finishing from Littlehampton proved costly when EP took the lead five minutes before the break. After confusion in the Littlehampton box, the appropriately named Danny Hand bundled the ball over the line with what looked to be an arm but referee Richard Smallwood turned down the prevailing appeals.
Two more spurned chances from Golds’ Barney Boutwood in first-half injury-time could have sent them in level at the break.
Any hope the home side had of getting back into the match were all but ended in the opening minute of the second half when the lively Joe Charman drilled a right-footed shot into the top corner.
After that, it was reasonably comfortable for the visitors and they made the game all but safe 10 minutes later when Hand grabbed a second after charging down a clearance from Golds’ substitute keeper James Askew.
Just after the hour mark, EP were reduced to 10 men when Jamie Fay was dismissed for his second bookable offence.
Golds did pull a goal back through Jarvis with 20 minutes to go and veteran Richie Hellen then struck a post.
The game was drawing to a close when, in injury-time, Scott Danfield broke through from the back to tee up Charman for his second to cap a superb fourth away win of the season for EP.
Golds manager John Suter said: “It was dreadful and we were poor in both penalty areas.
“With a bit more fortune, we could have won, but EP deserved it and we didn’t play well at all.
“It wasn’t a 5-2 game as we had so many chances, and being a local derby it got a bit fractious, but, overall, it was very disappointing.”
EP assistant boss Andy Preddy said: “It was a great win for us in an entertaining local derby.
“We were the better side on the day, but Littlehampton are a good young side and we proved that on our day we can match anyone.
“We wanted it a bit more, and I just want us to build on it. We rode our luck, but it was pleasing and I’m hoping that we’ll go on a consistent run of form now.”
LITTLEHAMPTON: Fuller; Crawford, Russell, Hazell; Beadle, Peacock, Goff, Hellen, Gaskin; Jarvis, Boutwood. Subs: Askew (Fuller 45), Taylor (Beadle 66), Schneider (Boutwood 85), Bates, Gritt.
EAST PRESTON: Souch; Campbell, Stideford, Windsor, Danfield; Charman, Wilds, Bainbridge, Lawson; Fay, Hand. Subs: Davies, Farrier (Hand, Lawson 77), McLeod, Leach, Curtis.