Jared Rance scored four times as Steyning Town Football Club were hit for six in their Southern Combination League Division 1 Cup quarter-final clash with East Preston on Saturday.
As well as Rance’s quadruple, Dan Huet also struck twice as EP cruised to an emphatic 6-1 success at The Shooting Field.
With Town trailing by six goals with just two minutes left, Charlie Romain fired home a 20-yard thunderbolt but that was just a consolation on a difficult day for the home side.
Following a change in set-up for the last-eight encounter, Steyning manager Gerry Murphy took responsibility for the defeat.
He said: “I blame myself for the poor team performance as I don’t think I set the team out as I would normally do.
“We lost against a well-organised and talented young team but the manner in which it happened was worse.
“I made three changes to the team that played against Seaford the previous week but these changes were not the reason we lost.”
East Preston seemed to enjoy playing on Steyning’s state-of-the-art 3G surface and went ahead after 16 minutes. Oliver Stevenson, who was making his first start since joining last month, sent Rance clear and he fired past Darren Ford in Steyning’s goal.
It got better for EP seven minutes later as Rance notched his second of the afternoon. This time Hayden Hunter sent Rance away and the forward stayed calm and fired home.
Rance then completed a 36-minute hat-trick with another assured finish. Josh Etherington’s long-ball was taken in Rance’s stride and he then rounded Ford, before slotting into an empty net.
EP nearly had a fourth five minutes before the break but Huet saw his strike come back off the bar from six yards.
Steyning could not deal with Rance and he was involved in EP’s fourth on the hour. Clever play from the forward saw him work some room, before teeing up Huet and he slammed home his first.
A fifth came 20 minutes from time as Rance’s curling left-footed free-kick found the top corner, before Huet made it 6-0 three minutes from time.
Romain’s thunderbolt pulled one back less than a minute later but that proved to be just a consolation for Steyning.
Steyning are back in league action on Saturday when they welcome East Preston once again.
With Town third, a point and a place above their opponents, Murphy knows how crucial a positive response is. He said: “I have had a good response from disappointing results in the past, so I’m hoping we put up a better show in the league on Saturday.”
STEYNING TOWN: Ford; Greer, Finch, Finney, Adams, Levoi, Knowles, Romain, Milner, Faber, Clark.
Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.
Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be amongst the first to know what’s going on.
1) Make our website your homepage at www.shorehamherald.co.uk/
2) Like our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ShorehamHerald
3) Follow us on Twitter @Shoreham_Herald
4) Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.
And do share with your family and friends - so they don’t miss out!
The Shoreham Herald - always the first with your local news.
Be part of it.