Despite a gutsy, battling performance Hailsham Town went out of the Division Two Cup at the Semi Final stage to East Preston.
From the off at Shoreham’s Middle Road ground, Hailsham looked up for the game, pressing and harrying East Preston on the ball, with the midfield working hard in particular.
Hailsham’s early chances fell to Shane Saunders, Danny Leach and Ben Billings, but as the half wore on, it was East Preston who seemed to create more going forward.
Five minutes before the break though would come controversy, when the excellent Stuart Lewis was mistakenly adjudged to have tripped Gaskin in the box.
Alex Duncan slotted home the resulting penalty, leaving Stringers officials and supporters fuming at the decision. After the break Hailsham came out fighting, with winger Billings in particularly fine form.
He was involved in Hailsham’s best chance, flicking the ball on for Saunders, whose cut back, fired goalwards by skipper Ashley Jarvis, needed a fine save from ‘keeper Bryant to divert it wide.
Despite a spirited second half, it was not to be, with East Preston progressing to face Littlehampton in the Final on Good Friday.
Hailsham though can take heart from an excellent performance against the runaway league leaders.
However it’s back to the league on Saturday for Kenny McCreadie’s men, with Steyning Town the visitors to The Beaconsfield, followed by another Tuesday night game next week (13th) away at Bexhill United.
Hailsham: Tanner, Dean Stevens, Ottley, Riddiford, Lewis, Barnard, Salvidge, Jarvis, Leach, Saunders, Billings Unused Subs: Skan, Jacob Stevens, Nicholls Attendance: 67