Cup success again for East Preston

With a new daytime job in place and an adjustment back to full time work, I kept local on Tuesday evening and headed to East Preston for their Sussex RUR Cup game against division lower Billingshurst.

With just one win to their name this season which came last Tuesday in the Sussex Senior Cup away at Crowborough, EP have found it tough with an inexperienced young side to compete this season but with three or four older heads added to the team the season might now begin to turn around.

The visitors arrived at the Lashmar in need of a positive result after picking up only two wins throughout October after a bright start to the season, however they also had success in the Sussex Senior Cup causing an upset by dispatching Newhaven from the same division as East Preston and given the home side’s league position would have been expecting to cause another surprise.

The visitors settled the quickest, playing some nice football on the grass, a little bit of frustration from East Preston which led to a couple of early yellow cards for the home side.

Despite some quick play Hurst didn’t trouble the home keeper Kurt Jenna-Swain and with EP looking to spark with Shane Brazil’s pace and the guile of Harry Russell up front, the home side took the lead on 25 minutes courtesy of the former. Having picked the ball up wide of the penalty area Brazil cut inside and his deflected shot beat Andy Barr for the first goal of the game.

There wasn’t long to wait for a second goal as four minutes later, Cam Lineham’s shot also took a deflection past Barr to put the home side in control of the game. Hurst weren’t without their own chances but very little were clear cut and kept the home side out in front.

Just before half time, the visitors conceded a third, Brazil again running at the Hurst defence and rifling a shot beyond Barr to give the home side a good cushion going into the break and seemingly no way back into the match for Billingshurst.

Early in the second half with EP looking to put the game beyond the visitors, Russell scored their fourth goal from all of twenty-five yards out and seemingly a place in the next round, a tall order for Hurst to come back from and gave EP boss Simon Hull the opportunity to substitute a couple of players.

There was a glimmer of hope around the hour mark as East Preston’s Jack Newhouse was sent off after reacting to a late challenge and the visitors sensed they could still get something from the game with plenty of time left.

The game turned into almost attack versus defence as EP sat back to defend their lead against wave after wave of attacks from the visitors as they set about trying to get back into the game.

Some resolute defending and outstanding goalkeeping from Jenna-Swain kept the scoreline intact until the 86th minute when Hurst finally broke through and Tom Edwards reduced the deficit by one.

Just when you felt it was merely a consolation for Billingshurst, Edwards popped up again bang on 90 minutes for his and the visitors second goal. You could feel a tinge of nervousness around the Lashmar despite the two goal cushion the home side still had.

With three minutes of stoppage time to negotiate, the visitors had two further chances to make it a very nervy last minute or two as a superb Jenna-Swain save tipped a rising shot over the bar to sealed the win and a trip to Selsey in the next round.

Very impressed with the way the visitors preferred to play the ball out from the back and all the way to the front, even at 4-0 down they didn’t change their philosophy and had they been able to convert one or even two of the half chances early on we would have seen a much different scoreline.

For EP, the experienced heads made a big difference and it is what the side have been crying out for over the last season and a half and for them you hope it starts to be effective in the league games before they are too far adrift of everyone which isn’t just quite yet.

Very good performances from Dan Howick, Jordan Dudas and Russell for the home side, I would be surprised to see the visitors finish below mid-table in Division One, certainly enough there for them to be happy about although possibly disappointed with the goals conceded.

East Preston exit cup with a whimper

After Saturday’s exciting FA Cup Extra Prelim Round game involving East Preston and Badshot Lea ended in a draw, Tuesday evening was the night for the replay.

Having dispensed with replays last year due to time pressures in the early part of the season, it was a little odd to have them back and being a programme contributor for EP it meant an extra column to be written in time for the game.

The reason for the replay, a 3-3 draw at the weekend with EP 2-1 up at one stage but needing to pull out a 95th minute equaliser courtesy of Matt Storm’s second goal of the game.

On a beautiful sunny Sussex evening it was the visitors who drew first blood once again, Dean Rule being allowed to run pretty much unchallenged down the left hand side to eventually slot the ball past Sam Marsden inside the first five minutes.

The early goal looked to knock the stuffing out of the home side, unable to keep possession and Storm ploughing a lonely furrow against the tall, imposing Lea centre halves.

With EP struggling to create anything of note and the visitors playing tidy football it wasn’t a surprise to see Badshot extend their lead on 36 minutes, Rule involved again on the left hand side, brought down in the penalty area needlessly and Nick Medcraft stepped up to put the spot kick into the right hand corner to give the visitors a comfortable half time lead.

EP certainly had it all to do in the second half and did begin brightly, pressing much further up the pitch but unable to carve out a single clear cut opportunity on goal. Lea were managing the game time very well and didn’t really need to step out of second gear throughout the 90 minutes, content to shoot from range without seriously troubling Marsden.

The home side did have changes from a host of set pieces, but while the delivery into the box was good, no EP head was able to make contact with the ball leaving Badshot to progress safely into the Preliminary Round in a couple of weeks’ time leaving EP boss Simon Hull to reflect on the slow start which ultimately sent his game plan out of the window before it had even been put into action.

A home tie against Isthmian League outfit Corinthian is the reward for Badshot, a side who have done consistently well over the past few seasons culminating in promotion under the FA re-structure and they will provide a very stern test for Tuesday night’s victors.

Hard fought pre-season win for East Preston

A balmy Tuesday evening this week took me to East Preston once again where they took on a Dorking Wanderers XI, expected to form their reserve side who this season will appear in the Southern Combination League Division One.

After a good start to pre-season for the home side, they were sluggish out the blocks for the first twenty minutes as the visitors got the ball down and played across the park stretching East Preston as much as they could.

Slightly against the run of play, the home side took the lead. Matt Storm gambled and won a 50-50 ball against the visiting keeper, coming off best to score and EP were in front.

With both sides getting into their stride, there was plenty of attacking intent but with very little in the way of clear cut chances during the remainder of the first half and the home side went into the break one goal to the good.

The second half was of a similar pattern although there was no slow start from EP this half and with a half time change of the once again impressive Storm replaced by Lew Broughton, there was no let up with attacking intent although while moving the ball around the pitch well Dorking were this time well marshalled by the EP back three of Charlie Robinson, Dan Howick and Ben Hack.

It was Howick who provided the hosts with their second goal, a superbly flighted free kick from Broughton found the head of the tall centre half and the ball nestled in the back of the net.

Substitute Dan Geal stung the palms of the visiting keeper in the final few minutes of the game, unleashing a rasping drive from fully 20 yards that was destined for the third goal of the game.

EP finished the stronger of the two sides and besides Geal’s effort could have added another goal or two, some stand out performances for EP in the shape of the previously mentioned back three whilst keeper Sam Marsden looked assured when danger did come his way.

A fine 45 from Storm and the same from his replacement Broughton who once fit will be a big asset to manager Simon Hull while Geal’s cameo in the centre of midfield showed class and composure in what is still a very young team but one that could excite and has the potential to upset the apple cart a few times this season.

Honours even at The Lashmar

When it comes to pre-season games they come along like buses, as the saying goes. And little had the ink dried on Thursday’s blog than Saturday was here and game number two.

Once again it was a local choice and a game of landlords vs tenants, East Preston hosting Littlehampton Utd. The latter have this season moved out of the Sportsfield they shared with Littlehampton Town to pitch up at the Lashmar whilst also extending their club sides with the addition of an Under 23 outfit.

Just to add to the mix, Utd are managed by Chris Horner who had a spell in charge of East Preston after the resignation of Terry Dodd last season and are certainly a club who are looking to impress this coming season whilst EP will hope the appointment of Simon Hull over the close season will provide some stability after going through a raft of manager’s last season.

Rather than club’s struggling with players away on holiday lots are suffering from having to isolate needlessly but we won’t be going there with that! But as with the game I watched on Thursday night there was no shortage of commitment from both sides.

With EP residing two divisions above their tenants the difference in moving the ball around and the extra quickness to the ball was evident across the first half, played on a surface which has certainly seen some TLC over the short close season.

Not surprisingly the home side took the lead just before the half hour mark through an own goal having threatened a few times testing the visitors Maciek Kason a couple of times which gave EP the half time lead.

Utd certainly came out with a bit more freedom in the second half and duly equalised through Craig Rennie, latching onto a ball over the top of the centre halves taking it in his stride and rounding the keeper to score with around 20 minutes to play.

The raft of substitutions then followed but didn’t disrupt the flow of the game, in fact it kept momentum going and the home side had the chances to win it including a penalty which saw Kason save from Harry Margeson whilst EP also hit the bar and Kason called into action to tip over a free kick.

With no further goals added, a draw was a fair result with both sides happy I think with what they got from the game.

Some good performances in the EP ranks, notably Matt Storm on the left wing causing problems with his pace and balls into the box while Dan Geal looked composed in midfield, Charlie Robinson and Ben Hack could prove to be a strong defensive partnership over time.

Kason certainly had his work cut out for Utd over the 90 minutes but with I believe a few more players due back the starting line up for their opening game might look a little different.

And no disrespect to either side here, but the best part of the afternoon was seeing people I’ve not seen for over a year and some not since the best part of last year, that meant a lot more than what was taking place on the pitch, lots more of that to come over the next few weeks and months, it’s been too long coming………

Live football at last

Football. Fresh air. Fans. Tuesday night up and down the country was the moment non-league supporters had been waiting for since mid-December, a return to the stands and terraces that was long overdue.

However, most clubs have finished or didn’t even begin to play and a lot of fans will be eagerly anticipating pre-season friendlies which will begin in around four or five weeks’ time for Step 5 and 6 clubs.

It’s been a long time since I’ve had anything to significantly blog about other than the National League and the sorry state of Barnet’s season. So the announcement of one of my local sides, East Preston, to host a friendly against Pitching In Isthmian Premier Division Worthing was always going to get me into the ground.

It was the first time the PNLP (Premier Non-League Podcast) boys minus the northern based Chris May were out together at a game, a project I’m involved in with five other guys, 15 episodes in so far which isn’t bad considering we’ve had a real lack of football to talk about in months, available across all podcast platforms twice a month.

Regular readers will know I also write a piece for the EP programme, a different one for each home game and unique to them as I try and build a career. They were also my focus club last season when Terry Dodd became manager, an idea given to me by someone else so duly done. Terry obviously then left, Chris Horner took over only to be replaced by Under 23 duo Mike McCaffrey and Lee Thompson who were in situ when football ceased in November and took charge of the side for the recent Supplementary Shield games.

Since then McCaffrey left the club, Thompson was relieved of his duties in the past two weeks and chairman Terry Doyle installed ex Arundel boss Simon Hull as the new man in charge days after his release from the club up the river, McCaffrey has since returned to take the Under 23’s for next season.

With a new man in charge this was always going to be a bit of a scratch side for a one off as far as EP were concerned and with a side full of quality as the Rebels possess and some promising youngsters on the bench it was a good test for the home side.

It was no surprise to anyone to see Worthing dominate possession and whilst they were creating chances, the EP defence were just about equal to everything and it took an Ollie Pearce strike on 22 minutes to open the scoring.

Joel Colbran and Ricky Aguiar added further goals, the latter’s effort drilled from the edge of the box to give the visitors a commanding 3-0 half time lead.

The fourth goal arrived courtesy of Shaq Gwengue after a fine move and a smart finish, Rebels manager Adam Hinshelwood then making a raft of substitutions with most of the senior players making way.

EP’s best chance of the game came from a free kick just outside the box, the ball clipping the top of the Worthing crossbar on it’s way over and into the trees behind the goal.

As EP legs naturally tired as the game wore on Worthing added another three goals to the scoreline to give it a flattering look of 7-0 by the final whistle but a good workout for both sets of players.

On Wednesday morning I caught up with both Simon and Adam and both agreed having fans back in to watch was the biggest part of this game.

‘Fantastic to see fans back in the ground’ remarked Hull, ‘it gives everyone a lift and there was a great buzz around the Lashmar last night.’

‘Last night was an opportunity for us to have a look and learn about our youngsters. As yet we’ve been unable to have any training sessions with them but a great test against Adam’s quality outfit.’

‘That’s it for us now this season although we are planning pre-season training and that will start very early. Plenty to do but the boys are keen and the coaching staff are very willing.’

Hinshelwood was also very pleased to have supporters back, ‘it was great to play with fans in attendance again, it felt like a bit of normality for all of us.’

‘It’s been way too long to have that feeling, a simple cheer after a goal goes in, makes the game seem so much better and real.’

‘It’s been so important for us I believe to get together as a group for two reasons, firstly it would have been a long time if we had waited just for pre-season to get some match practise into the legs and I believe this would heighten the risk of injury.’

‘Secondly, for the players and everyone connected to have that engagement with the group again for mental health reasons and general well being it’s been massive for us all.’

And I think fans can identify with the mental health part, so many people I’ve spoken to over the months wanting a bit of normality, indeed seeing so many familiar faces in the crowd of 250 people shows how much it was wanted.

Great to be out with mates just enjoying the game, hopefully The Hive beckons for me for the next week to finish off the season then the hard work starts again trying to get this writing career off the ground, if any clubs are interested in what I can do for them you’ve only got to ask East Preston, Langney Wanderers or Met Police……………….

The wait goes on

Saturday football once again! Well live streaming has been fine coupled with FA Cup weekend’s whilst the game was served another suspension, nothing beats waking up on the first day of the weekend knowing you’re off to football.

I had plenty of local choice too, not really deterred by the lack of Step 3 and 4 games and of course those in Step 5 and 6 who are unable to play, with East Preston facing eight away games in a row after this weekend I easily decided on a trip to The Lashmar.

For those of you who read regularly I’ve been following the fortunes of the West Sussex outfit since the start of the season and over the course of the eight away games there will be a couple of updates to find out whats been happening and what’s new.

Now under the tutelage of Lee Thompson and Mike McCaffrey, the side were still searching for their first win of the season with Crawley Down Gatwick the visitors, a midweek defeat to Lancing on the season’s resumption not the start the duo wanted.

What I didn’t expect when I arrived at the ground was to see well-known Barnet FC fans Steve and Ann Percy around two hours from home for them, needless to say there was a lot of Barnet talk but not at the expense of watching the game!

Not surprisingly the pitch was pretty heavy given the amount of rain on the South Coast over the last few days but both sides certainly didn’t shirk from the challenge and the early exchanges were very even, chances at both ends but not enough to break the deadlock.

EP keeper Steve Alfrey was becoming the busier of the two custodians as the half wore on however but little was put either side of him keeping the scoreline blank. Just as we were all set for things being equal at half time the visitors popped up with a goal, striker Lewis Croal with a superb finish just on the half time mark, harsh on the hosts who had done enough for the scores to remain level going into the interval.

What happened at the beginning of the second half baffled quite a few in the ground including me. Alfrey was out early from the changing room and made his way over the to bench to the bemusement of those around us to question if he had been sent off but remaining in full kit.

Having stood close to the changing rooms as the teams walked off, Alfrey had entered into some colourful dialogue with the match officials and only once the second half had begun with Chad Milner in goal and some ten minutes elapsed did we realise he’d been sin-binned for dissent!

The sin-bin certainly hasn’t been enforced enough this season at this level compared to last year hence why I think we all forgot that referees do actually use it still!

Alfrey was back between the sticks when Crawley Down added their second on the hour mark, Guy Halding’s flicked header from a left wing cross unchallenged as it nestled inside the far post.

Just six minutes later Dave Brown made sure the points were leaving with the visitors as he smashed the ball home to put the game beyond the reach for EP. So the wait goes on for East Preston for that elusive first league win of the season and next up a trip to Little Common to try and reverse that statistic.

For the visitors two wins on the bounce keeps them inside the top ten clubs in the Premier Division and looking upwards rather than down, a very composed performance despite losing their keeper injured in the warm-up and Tony Jenner coming in to keep a clean sheet.

Another midweek coming up for more football, although destination unknown at the moment, but if I can be somewhere I will be somewhere……..

No corner turned yet for East Preston

Tuesday evening saw the last scheduled midweek game for East Preston after a busy couple of months cramming games in a fixture list than began a month behind its usual start date in August.

Like most clubs at this level and I know I’ve mentioned it fairly regularly, but they’ve done well off the pitch to keep people safe at games against a backdrop of diminishing volunteers and a constant battering of regulations to further reduce income that keeps these smaller clubs alive.

On the pitch things haven’t gone quite as expected since the game began again on 1st September. Just one win in all competitions in nearly two months wasn’t the way it was supposed to pan out and this time last week Terry Dodd tendered his resignation to the club committee which was accepted, Terry as we know through this blog doesn’t like losing and maybe just felt there was little he could to change things around despite his best efforts, money talks at all levels of the game.

Step forward Chris Horner! A rapid rise from the Under 23’s to 1st team manager in a few weeks, football does not stand still. As expected and often happens in the County League when a manager leaves, players invariably do as well and this situation is no different.

Despite most playing in the weekend defeat to Longfield, around eight left the club prior to Steyning’s visit to the Lashmar, Guy Church and Tijan Sparks appearing to be the only survivors from the Dodd reign and the side littered with new signings and promotions from the Under 23 squad.

Having seen EP two weeks or so prior to this one, they put up a strong fight in the Vase against Fisher, but capitulated three days later, 4-0 down at half time to Hassocks before rallying back to 4-3 which in a way leaves you unsure which EP makes its onto the pitch.

It did look to be a long night in front of the home side as they dealt with some strong attacking pressure in the opening minutes, the visitors coming close to opening the scoring on eleven minutes the EP defence just managing to clear off the line after pinball in the penalty area.

The hosts were able just to deal with everything the visitors threw at them and a fine save from debutant keeper Adam Brodrick kept the scores level. Steyning though eventually took the lead just before the half hour mark, an unmarked George Cousins on hand to fire past Brodrick, who was unable to hold onto the ball, and give Town a deserved lead that they took into half time.

With the ball just not holding up with the strikers, EP struggled to fashion many clear cut chances despite the midfield promptings of Jamie Frankling and the returning Tijan Sparkes.

The lead was increased for the visitors on 58 minutes, James Magrath’s header from a corner couldn’t be kept out and EP were now having to take a few more risks to try and get back into the game.

The introduction of Matt Storm from the bench provided a few flurries in the visitor’s penalty area and EP indeed should have pulled one back but as so often this season the lack of attacking intent send the home side to another league defeat.

Plenty of work to be done for the new boss and I caught up with him after the game to see what’s planned to try and turn things around:

‘My first objective is to get the goal average down and I guess we did alright with that tonight, that was our lowest defeat for a while, but at the same not clinical enough still in front of goal. I thought Adam did well in goal for his debut and will get sharper with games.’

‘Both of my strikers are deadly in front of goal and once they get into a good rhythm as a partnership I’m hoping things change.’

‘I am actively looking to bring some more experienced bodies in, I have dialogue open with a few clubs, but they have to be the right person both on and off the pitch to take us in the right direction. With no budget it is making things harder, but watch this space……’

Have to mention Dan Howick who had a fantastic game alongside skipper Charlie Robinson at the back for EP, head or foot on everything that came his way, those two could be key along with Sparks and Frankling in front of them plus three or four players with good experience to get the side up the table.

Dodd confident of climbing the table

Since I last caught up with East Preston boss Terry Dodd, there has been an improvement in results and things are starting to look a little better as we come to the end of a packed September fixture list.

By the time next Tuesday rolls around the first team will have completed eight league and cup matches with contrasting fortunes in that time. The first win of the season duly arrived in the FA Vase last weekend at division lower Oakwood and the confidence that will bring is needed as we head into what is going to be another busy month in October.

Goals from Harry Franks and Cameron Lineham means EP are now off the mark for the season, but it also means some prize money coming to the club which is going to be a massive thing for all clubs this season in both FA competitions however big or small the amount. A home draw against Fisher in the next round will bring a little more money in as well, win or lose.

Prior to the Vase game a vast improvement saw the team hold Alfold to a 2-2 draw despite squandering a two goal lead but the defensive performance which was much improved on the previous week’s defeat to Loxwood which laid the foundations for the result at Oakwood.

The three new signings made before the defeat to Eastbourne Utd have added some much needed craft and guile while the return of Chad Milner to the Alfold game made a big difference, although he missed the Vase win. Working without a budget at this level does make the job a lot harder than it should be to get results and the club are very much aware and supportive of how things need to be done this season.

Dodd though is pleased with how things are starting to shape up but now expects the team to kick on:

‘I was pleased with the win last weekend, it has been coming with the way we’ve been playing over the last few games, although I didn’t think we played particularly well we still got the win and that’s all that counts.’

‘I am hoping it kicks off for us in the league now and I know I keep saying it but I really feel we aren’t too far away from all clicking together and once we do I think we’ll surprise a few people along the way.’

‘It’s always nice to have a cup run and we’ll be looking to do that, but we are aware we need results in the league and that is our main aim at the present moment. With all the games coming up again in large numbers next month we are going to need to have as many players available as we can, we’re lucky we have the Under 23 side and I’ve already called a few of them into the first team squad this season, I am however looking to bring in more attacking options in the next couple of weeks.’

For most clubs just being able to stay in business after a torrid few months is the ultimate aim, no-one can predict whether we will see everything through to the end of season and if we do how many interruptions we will encounter along the way.

Just a note about the club’s Under 23 side who have beaten a couple of County League Division Two sides in pre-season, they began their league campaign on Thursday evening at the Lashmar against Selsey and won 2-1. Bearing in mind they started the game with four 16 year olds, two 17 year old and one 18 year old and ended the game with five 16 year olds on the pitch, the future is a very bright one for this club if they can keep the players together.

EP travel to Horley Town this coming weekend ko 3pm whilst they host high flying Saltdean Utd on Tuesday night at The Lashmar ko 7.30pm.

Three points not far away

Since 1st September and the re-start for Steps 3-6 in non-league football, the games have come thick and fast and continue to do so for the next few months in order to get the season completed in a timely fashion, this of course is not allowing for any postponements along the way.

Tuesday evening saw another local trip to the featured club, East Preston and with it more goals. Alfold were the visitors in the Southern Combination Premier Division, a very progressive club aiming to follow in the footsteps of Dorking Wanderers. Their facilities are improving every year and looked impressive when I visited with Wick two seasons ago, I believe things now have moved on once again and I might have to sneak in a visit over the course of this season.

EP were on the end of a narrow defeat to Eastbourne Utd at the weekend but having strengthened the squad with the signings of Callum Litterick, Scott Vine and Tijan Sparks a bit more experience has been added to what is still a very young but improving side.

The visitors were always going to be a stern test, a strong tall but mobile outfit who battle for every ball and after you know you’ve been in a game. EP are slowly putting together a side that should eventually finish in a higher position than where they are now.

A muggy September evening but welcome sunshine during the day, the game certainly had the feel of an early August summer night though. East Preston as per last Tuesday night’s game against Loxwood started the much brighter of the two sides and once again drew first blood.

The impressive Conor Bull gave the home side the lead inside 10 minutes, a bit of pinball around the area saw the ball break to Bull to slot home. Plenty of endeavour followed from the visitors but the defence marshalled by skipper Charlie Robinson held firm backed up by keeper Keelan Belcher.

Bull extended the home side’s lead on 42 minutes, a fierce shot from outside the box gave James Stallen no chance and a 2-0 lead for EP. That should have been the half time score, but Alfold had other ideas and in first half stoppage time Devon Fender slotted past Belcher to halve the deficit and possibly change the half time team talks for both managers.

Just past the hour mark the visitors levelled things up through substitute Kelvin Lucas whilst East Preston played very much on the counter attack, Bull had the chance late on to win the game and complete his hat-trick, but an outstanding save from Stallen to tip the ball around the post kept the scores level while at the other end Belcher and his defence stood firm for both sides to share the spoils.

Few things to note from an EP perspective, the return of Chad Milner up front gave the defence something to think about while Bull was a constant menace throughout the first half and deserved his two goals.

The introduction of Sparks into the midfield has given it more bite and determination and Robinson enjoyed a good ninety minute battle with Tiago Andrade, a good bustling centre-forward for this level. The biggest difference for me compared to last Tuesday night against Loxwood was better defending in and around their own penalty area, something learnt from last week which when you have a young team is the hope they don’t repeat the same mistakes.

It was a big ask for a full game press, it worked very well in the first half which contributed to the two-nil lead and although you could still see flashes of it in the second half it wasn’t quite as strong, but Rome wasn’t built in a day! Improvement week on week is all you can ask for and this was certainly a step in the right direction, a break from league action this coming Saturday with a trip to Division One Oakwood in the FA Vase and hopefully much needed income and a first win.

Dodd: We just need to keep working hard and results will come

Tuesday evening saw me and a couple of mates’ head to East Preston for their second league match of the season. For me a little unchartered territory, I don’t think I’ve been to so many games early on in a season when I’ve not been attached to a club, five so far and two more planned before we get to the end of the weekend.

This also marked the first home game where EP were using my paid for services, a programme article designed especially for them and a different one to be produced per home game unless they play two in a few days. They join Langney Wanderers as the second club on board for this and I’m open to any clubs reading this to get in touch, I can produce whatever you like for your programme be it in print or online and it just gives something more to read, I’ll add the email address in at the bottom of this.

Back to the matter in hand and East Preston vs Loxwood and of course some words from the boss Terry Dodd. EP went into the game on the back of a 2-2 draw at home to Little Common in their first league game at the weekend, having surrendered a two-goal lead.

Their visitors were aiming for their first points after a narrow 2-1 defeat at Saltdean and it looked from the first 20 minutes that back to back defeats were on the cards, Chad Milner scoring his second in two games to give the hosts the lead inside five minutes.

EP certainly looked the brighter of the two sides until Loxwood equalised when a bizarrely awarded free kick was despatched in the net on 38 minutes. I say bizarre because it appeared the referee dropped the ball for a re-start in the Loxwood half for them to play back to EP, a half-hearted lob forward fell short of keeper Keelan Belcher, bounced, and the return ball bobbled from a defender into his hands deemed a back pass by the referee with players very unsure as to what he had actually allowed to happen from that drop ball.

The visitors went into the half time break in front when EP failed to clear from inside their box and Luke Brodie slotted past Belcher.

The second half belonged to Loxwood with Fraser Trigwell not forced into a single save. Belcher on the other hand made several fine saves to keep his side in the match but two superbly hit strikes from Lewis Westlake, his second of the game and substitute Bradley Campbell-Francis gave the scoreline a very uneven look and leave Dodd’s side still searching for their first win of the season, but he wasn’t too disheartened afterwards:

‘Tonight was a bit frustrating, I thought for the first 30 minutes we were different class and had we got a second goal in that time I think we would have gone on to win the game, but all of a sudden we switched off and let them get back into the game.’

‘Keelan (Belcher) worked hard to keep us in it and we just need to protect him a bit more as he’s done well over the last 180 minutes. I thought Chad (Milner) coming off injured hampered us a bit because he was looking really sharp and was causing their defence all sorts of problems.’

‘I don’t think we’re too far away as a team, we’ve got the players to do well in this division, they just need to believe in themselves. It may take us a few more weeks but we’ll get there I’m sure of it.’

‘I expect us to head to Eastbourne on Saturday for the players to give it a real go, those sides are always strong, so we’ll be in for a battle but one we’ll be up for.’

‘I’ve made a couple more signings to strengthen us and give us some more bodies, both are available on Saturday and I have another two I hope to complete in time for next week as well, so things are looking a bit better, we just need to keep working hard and the results will come.’

To get in touch regarding any programme queries email me tkenterprises2019@outlook.com