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Late Penalty Sinks Blues

(February 25, 2017)

Sidley United 1 - 2 Eastbourne Rangers - ESFL Premier Division

Sidley United suffered a first defeat of 2017 as Eastbourne Rangers claimed a Winn thanks to a contentious late penalty.

The Blues chose to kick into the strong wind in the first half and the conditions possibly played a role in the game's opening goal. A corner from the left and some questionable marking saw Tony Russell head past Rogers to give the visitors the lead after just 4 minutes.

Sidley grew into the game but found it difficult to create clear opportunities. Sean Baldwin came closest, first showing good feet to work an opportunity which was well saved before almost finding Arron Scrace for a tap in with a good low ball, Scrace only denied by a last minute clearance.

Rangers looked to counter but their best opportunity for a second goal came from a strong penalty appeal when a player seemed to be tripped. The referee initially raised his whistle, but appeared to change his mind leaving Rangers unhappy.

At the beginning of the second half it was Sidley's turn to appeal for a spot kick when Chris Sanderson appeared to be brought down but the referee signalled only a throw in. However from that throw in, a scramble in the area eventually fell to Baldwin to poke the ball home.

Both teams sensed the win was within grasp and Rangers felt they had gone in front when a header looped over Rogers and appeared to have crossed the line before being hooked away but the referee was not convinced.

However there was more controversy left as a ball in on 88 minutes brushed Funnell and the referee awarded a penalty for handball which Sidley players fiercely contested. Russell slotted past Rogers for his second goal to seal the win and move Rangers to just a point behind the Blues.

Sidley are next in action at home to Hollington United in the semi finals of the Hastings FA Intermediate Cup on March 11th.

Sidley Team: Rogers, Elphick, Hempe, Eldridge, Carey, Cole (Funnell), O'Callaghan, Sanderson, Scrace (Day), Shelton (Bailey), Baldwin.

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