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Blues win Sussex FA Junior Cup after epic final

(April 06, 2016)

Sidley United 6 - 4 Wadhurst United (3 - 3 at FT) - Sussex FA Junior Cup Final

Sidley United lifted the Sussex FA Cup after extra time in an epic final in which they came from behind 3 times.
 
In a game played under floodlights at Sussex FA headquarters in Lancing, the Blues fell behind on 8 minutes after a long ball over the top saw Sidley defenders appeal in vain for offside and as goalkeeper Joe Rogers came out, Lee Bates lifted the ball over him to give Wadhurst the lead.
 
Blues responded though on 12 minutes as Simon Corke's shot deflected to Ashley Elphick who finished cooly low into the far corner. Sidley then began to get on top and had a number of chances blocked on the line by Wadhurst defenders or shot just wide.
 
But Wadhurst went back in front against the run of play on 39 minutes as a free kick into the box was not well defended and Ryan Bateman turned the ball in at the far post to give Wadhurst a half time lead.
 
Blues levelled again on 48 minutes as Elphick's low shot was parried and Arron Scrace turned home the rebound. Wadhurst retook the lead on 69 minutes as a corner was powerfully headed into the net by John Penny, only for Sidley to equalise 2 minutes later as the always dangerous Scrace headed home a cross from the right and although both teams had further chances, the game went to extra time.
 
Sidley took the lead for the first time 7 minutes into the extra period as a good move saw the ball squared to Gary Hempe who fired low into the corner from the edge of the area. Sidley were looking strong in the extra period but Wadhurst were always in the game.
 
But in the second period Blues gained a 2 goal cushion as substitute James Bailey netted with a fine strike from outside the area after good work by Scrace on 114 minutes.
 
Back came Wadhurst though as Harry Bateman got past the Sidley defence to reduce the arrears with 2 minutes to go. But less than a minute later Sidley were awarded a penalty as Scrace was felled in the box and Hempe sent the Wadhurst goalkeeper the wrong way to finally seal the win with an incredible 6 - 4 score.
 
A first trophy for the Blues since they reformed in the East Sussex Football League in 2014 and they had to show real character to come from behind 3 times to do so.
 
Sidley will have little time to relax however as the important fixtures keep on coming. The Blues can take a huge step towards securing promotion to the Premier Division when they entertain third placed Old Hastonians on Saturday.
 
Sidley Team: Rogers, May, Hempe, Aston, Eldridge, Carey (Cochrane), Sanderson, Elphick (Bailey), Corke (Day), Scrace, Funnell.

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