Aarran Racine, Tom Chalaye, Mo Diallo and that staple of any friendly, Mr. A. Trialist were the only changes to those that pulled on a red shirt in Saturday’s home win against Bafins Milton Rovers. East Preston meanwhile included several of our former under – eighteens in Dan Howick, Daegan Walsh, Captain Charlie Robinson, Charlie Millard and Cam Lineham.
The first real chance of the game produced it’s opening goal, when, thirteen minutes in, Reece Myles-Meekums picked up a loose ball down the inside-right channel and danced his way between two EP defenders, before pulling away from them and burying his shot across and beyond home ‘keeper, Steve Alfrey.
Shortly afterwards, the hosts were awarded a free-kick in a dangerous position, just outside the box; Lineham forcing Harrison Male to get down and push past the post at the expense of a corner.
Alfrey then denied Shaq Gwengwe after the forward battled to win the ball back inside the area and Joel Colbran combined nicely with Ollie Pearce on the right, with the former bursting into the eighteen yard box from where Pearce, leaning back slightly, fired over the crossbar from the edge of it.
Two goals in six minutes approaching half-time put the visitors in command, as Colbran broke through the home ranks and drove a powerful effort into the opposite bottom corner, followed by an equally well-struck finish from the boot of Ricky Aguiar, who had pounced on a stray pass.
The early stages following the turnaround brought about further opportunities for the away side to add to their advantage, particularly via the ever-dangerous Gwengwe. For it was he who dispossessed a black-and-white shirt, countered quickly and found Pearce but Alfrey stuck out a foot to deny his strike partner at the near post.
Seconds later and Shaq attacked again; this time drifting in off the left flank before rippling the back of the net to make it four.
Reds nearly went nap just shy of the hour mark when Myles-Meekums cut in from the same side but couldn’t quite keep his shot down, as it flew inches over the bar.
It then became “The Steve Alfrey Show” with the East Preston number one producing a pair of impressive saves to frustrate the visitors.
He started off by adjusting well to tip over the top to prevent Jasper Pattenden almost catching him out and was at it again moments later, when he pulled-off a similar effort to stop substitute, Chalaye bagging the fifth goal of the night.
A good run by Pattenden, unfortunately wasn’t matched by the finish, with Alfrey less troubled on this occasion.
The final fifteen saw the Reds assert their authority on proceedings; commencing with the recently-introduced Mo Diallo finding a way past the seemingly impregnable Alfrey and slotting home.
Another top-draw stop kept out Pattenden, though from the resulting flag-kick our friend, the trialist momentarily appeared to confuse the duties of a centre-back with those of a centre-forward, as he volleyed home in fine fashion to take the total to six.
An inside-left free-kick, a yard or so outside the penalty box, ended with the frame of the goal denying the unlucky Lineham a cracking consolation.
There was still time, however, for the men of Woodside to have the last word.
After acrobatically stopping Chalaye beating him midway through the second period, Alfrey showed why the goalies’ lot isn’t always a happy one by allowing the ball to squirm under him and gift the opposing goal-getter a simple tap-in, to round off the evening’s entertainment.