Steyning Town Football Club moved up to second in Southern Combination League Division 1 after a 5-4 win at fellow high-flyers East Preston on Saturday.
Town fought back from 1-0 down early on to lead 5-1 with 15 minutes to go – but East Preston scored three times in the final six minutes to ensure a few nervy moments for Steyning at the end.
Steyning climbed above East Preston into second place with the three points. However, manager Gerry Murphy is not getting carried away.
He said: “From where we started in August, I think the confidence in the team has grown stronger, but we take each game at a time with no targets being set.
“The last ten minutes on Saturday we didn’t do what we did for the previous 80 minutes, so obviously it was a bit nervy towards the finish.”
Steyning hit the post through Craig Knowles before East Preston took the lead when Tom Lyne headed home Lee Mottershead’s free kick on 16 minutes but the rest of the half was one to forget for EP.
Steyning, who had won 9-1 at home to Langney Wanderers the previous week, levelled quickly through Ross Adams, who fired home Charlie Romain’s cross from close range with the ball adjudged to have crossed the line after the referee consulted with his assistant.
Chad Milner struck the bar before he put the visitors ahead with a stunning strike on 33 minutes. Lewis Levoi then made it 3-1 just before half-time with a strike from the edge of the penalty area.
EP made a bright start to the second half but as they committed more men forward, it left them exposed at the back.
Knowles got Steyning’s fourth with a low strike just past the hour and Adams then made it 5-1 with 15 minutes to go. Knowles’ shot was spilled by EP keeper Chris Cook and Adams tucked home his fifth goal in two games.
Steyning then seemed to take their foot off the gas and EP got a goal back through Dan Huet on 84 minutes after Jazz Gilberston and Jared Rance had combined well.
Huet scored his second four minutes later and Mottershead scored from 12 yards to make it 5-4 in the final minute.
EP threw everything at Steyning in the hunt for an equaliser but time ran out as they suffered just their second home league defeat of the season.
Steyning host fifth-placed Lingfield, who they have already beaten 3-1 and 4-1 in league and cup this season, on Saturday.
Murphy said: “Having beaten them twice this season, I am sure they will be trying desperately to beat us and they are a team that will be around the top end of the table at the finish.”
STEYNING: Rose; Finch, Wadey, Webb, Levoi, Faber, Knowles, Romain, Adams, Hartley, Milner. Subs: Puttock (Finch), Harding (Adams), Haydon, Gunn.
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