Peacehaven held by East Preston in Cup stalemate

Fine saves from Anthony Di Bernado kept out the visitors
Fine saves from Anthony Di Bernado kept out the visitors

A severe lack of meaningful efforts on goal saw Peacehaven come up woefully short in their first round home FA Cup tie against lower league, East Preston.

Indeed credit must go to the visitors who with a battling performance stifled the hosts, and could well have won the match with some better finishing in the second half.

Before kick-off, match announcer Derek Earley informed the gathered faithful that any replay would be on Tuesday night. Surely, Haven would not need another game at this early stage to progress in the cup?

As seems to be the pattern lately, Peacehaven started brightly and had several half chances falling to Evan Archibald, Lloyd Cotton and Josh Jones.

Realistically, it was the team from West Sussex that should have opened the scoring. Ryan McBride sold a perfect dummy allowing the ball to run onto Man of the Match Matt Axell.

His left foot curling shot attempted to beat DiBernardo over his head. Arching his back spectacularly, the keeper plucked the ball out of the air to keep the score goalless.

Archibald was given a great chance, but managed to get the ball stuck under his feet. This opportunity was crying out for a first time shot that never came.

His next effort, a header low down was at least on target. What was unexplainable to many all afternoon was that with keeper Nick Collick a little shorter than usual, why was the height of Archibald not utilised better?

The second half was much of the same with Kevin Keehan and Axell orchestrating things in midfield for the visitors.

Archibald had a glorious chance at the start of the half. With the ball at his feet, he ran at the defence with the crowd willing him on. Instead of going for goal, he elected to pass wide and another opportunity went begging to the dismay of the stands.

Manager Saunders introduced young striker Charlie Pitcher to inject a bit of urgency into proceedings, well that was the intention but nothing was coming off for Peacehaven.

A misplaced header by defender Sami El-Abd fell nicely to Shaun Charles but his shot went skywards luckily for the Magpies. This was followed by a bullet header from David Herbert as East Preston pushed forward.

The last meaningful effort was Haven’s just before the end. A sweet free kick from Jones edged the post for a goal kick.

Peacehaven: Di Bernardo, Marzetti, Knee, McLaughlin, A. Jones (Capt), El Abd, Brotherton, Cotton, Archibald, Fraser, J. Jones.

Referee: Anthony Foster

Attendance: 141