Brantham blow chances as they bow out of FA Vase on Sussex coast

East Preston 3 Brantham Athletic 0

Brantham Athletic’s fine run in the FA Vase came to an abrupt end, in windswept conditions on the West Sussex coast this afternoon, although they will be kicking themselves for blowing a good chance to progress in the competition.

On the face of it, a 3-0 defeat is a fairly comprehensive score-line, and yet Brantham squandered a number of gilt-edged chances to score, while being the masters of their own downfall for all three of East Preston’s goals.

It looked as though this fourth round tie, postponed from the previous weekend because of a waterlogged pitch, was going to be a victim of the wet weather for a second time.

Heavy overnight rain had left East Preston’s Lashmar pitch waterlogged, but a late decision was made to switch venues to nearby Lancing FC – Brantham eventually started off on their journey an hour later than planned.

East Preston, runaway leaders of Sussex County League Division One, thanks to an unbeaten record of 17 wins and three draws from 20 fixtures, certainly did not have things all their own way.

In fact, it was not until the fourth and last minute of injury-time, at the end of the first half, that the hosts grabbed the lead.

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Keeper Ryan Bedingfield was unable to deal with Darren Boswell’s cross, and Michael Huckett had the simple task of sweeping home the loose ball from close in.

East Preston doubled their lead, just before the hour mark, with another goal that could have been prevented.

Liam Baitup took full advantage of a mix-up, in Brantham’s midfield, to advance a few yards and then execute a marvellous 25-yard lob over the head of Bedingfield and into the roof of the net.

Brantham had produced heroics in the previous round, at Haringey Borough, to bounce back from a 2-0 deficit and win through 3-2.

But there were to be no such comebacks on Saturday, and skipper Joe Shelley converted a penalty in stoppage time to seal East Preston’s place in the last 16 of the competition.

Squads

EAST PRESTON: Harding, Hunt, Axell, Barnard, Pullan, Farmer, Shelley, Huckett (sub Boddy, 85), Baitup, Sadough, Boswell (sub Levitt, 52)..

BRANTHAM: Bedingfield, Pryke, Ryland, Webb (sub Smith, 70), Farthing, Travis, Mann, Lawler (sub Gunn, 76), D Grimwood, Cole, Nobbs (sub L Grimwood, 67).

Attendance: 188

See Monday’s East Anglian Daily Times newspaper for a full report, pictures and quotes from Brantham’s visit to West Sussex

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