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Blues and Hastonians play out lively draw

(January 14, 2017)

Sidley United 2 - 2 Old Hastonians - ESFL Premier Division

It was a case of nearly, but not quite for Sidley United on Saturday against familar opponents Old Hastonians.

Blues began strongly in the wet conditions and were on the front foot from the beginning. They took an early lead on 8 minutes as a low ball in from the left by Arron Scrace was turned home at the far post by James Bailey.

That goal seemed to shake Hastonians though and the visitors began to get on top in the first half. They grabbed an equaliser on 21 minutes through Alan Johnson who evaded his marker to finish low past Rogers at the near post.

Sidley began to find it difficult to get out of their half, although they had the sense that they might get something at the other end. But it was Hastonians who went in front at half time as Jordan Cole tripped his man in the box and Johnson stepped up to slot home the resulting penalty.

Mark Funnell stepped off the bench at half time to make his first appearance of the season for the Blues as the sun came out and Sidley started again on the front foot. It was Hastonians now who had dropped deep and Sidley looked menacing through Scrace and Bailey on the wings.

The equaliser though came about slightly fortuitously on 67 minutes. A deep cross slipped through Hastonians goalkeeper Jon Saunders hands, possibly losing the ball in the sun, and John Carey was on home to put the ball into the net from only yards out. Saunders then made a great low save to deny Sean Baldwin as Sidley, firmly on top in the second period, pushed for the winner.

However Hastonians' threat was not extinguished and they hit the crossbar with a free kick right on the edge of the area. Sidley had a very late chance to grab a winner with a breakaway move but Cole couldn't get the ball through to a teammate and Hastonians snuffed out the dangerous move.

As it was, both sides played the game in the right way and perhaps on another day would have taken three points but as it was they had to settle for a draw.

Sidley Team: Rogers, Hardy (Funnell), Elphick, Cole, Eldridge, Copley, Carey, O'Callaghan, Baldwin, Bailey (Brockhurst), Scrace.

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