Eastbourne United AFC produced another solid all round team performance to maintain top spot in SCFL Division Two after a comprehensive 4-1 victory over third placed Steyning Town
Ryan McBride and Jack Franklin returned to the starting XI ahead of Ben Dartnall and Ashley Darby, both of whom were on the bench.
McBride and Jason Taylor both had early half chances, but United were dealt an early blow as ‘keeper Grant Young had to be substituted due to a nasty looking cut above his left eye.
Young was quick off his line to deal with a through ball, but he collided with captain Shaun Loft and was left requiring lengthy treatment.
With no back-up ‘keeper named on the bench, Assistant Manager Scott Price donned the gloves and took over from Young between the sticks.
Price was rarely tested as the United defence dealt with the attacking threat of Steyning with relative comfort.
At the other end, Steyning ‘keeper Matt Ford did well to deny Taylor following a Matt Maclean through ball, but two minutes later Taylor struck.
McBride took control of the ball on the left hand side and forced his way through the home defence before squaring to Taylor, who took the ball onto his left foot and rifled the ball home.
Steyning pegged United back almost immediately when a corner could only be cleared as far as Ashley Finch who hit a curling effort that bypassed everybody in the penalty area and past a stranded Price.
The goal appeared to spur United on as they enjoyed their best spell of the match as the half time break loomed.
Taylor was again involved in the second goal as he combined with Andy Corrigan, who produced the perfect cross to McBride who calmly controlled the ball and slotted past Ford.
Loft was denied the chance to extend United’s advantage when he connected with Wes Tate’s corner, but his powerful header cannoned off the post.
A third goal did materialise before the interval when a cross from Taylor was met by Jack Divall who beat the onrushing ‘keeper to head into an unguarded net.
The second half was much the same as the first, with United not allowing Steyning the opportunity to test Price as United looked comfortable and in control.
On 60 minutes, Corrigan found space to cross for Matt Maclean to head the ball past Ford and in off the post for his first ever goal in a United shirt.
Steyning’s main chance of the second half came with 15 minutes remaining, but Price showed great reactions to tip the ball over the crossbar for a corner.
Steyning’s afternoon was compounded by the dismissal of Kerry Parsons with five minutes left after pulled Tate to the ground when he was the last man.
Tate stepped up to take the resulting free-kick, but pulled his effort wide of the post as the game finished with United scoring four goals for a second consecutive Saturday.
UNITED: Young (Price 12); Corrigan, S.Dartnall (Darby 61), Loft ©, Ray, Franklin, Divall, Tate, McBride (B.Dartnall 77), Taylor