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Blues down Dons, Reserves Win Thriller

(September 25, 2021)

Willingdon Athletic 1 - 4 Sidley United - MSFL Premier Division

Sidley United made it 5 wins from 6 on the road but had to overcome a hard working Willingdon side who refused to lie down.

The first half began at a fierce pace with both sides looking to get on top. However as play settled down it was Sidley who managed to enjoy the bulk of the pressure with Willingdon looking to counter.

Sidley got their noses in front on 30 minutes as Nathan Crabb struck before Sam Crabb added a second goal just two minutes later.

A controversial incident just before half time saw the clean through on goal Nathan Crabb brought down by the last Willingdon defender but the referee deemed that he got the ball and waved away the appeals of the Sidley faithful. Paul Rogers took his complaints a little too far for the referee’s liking and was sin-binned.

In the second half Willingdon upped their game as they began to find their passes and created some more chances. Fortunately the strength in depth on the Sidley bench meant they could introduce fresh legs to counter this threat.

Willingdon did pull a goal back on 78 minutes when they were awarded a penalty which was tucked away by Alex Burton past debutant goalkeeper Clark Masters.

Keeping their heads though, Sidley responded by scoring again within 2 minutes after the ball pinged around the area and came out to Danny Ellis who finished well. Charlie Cornford wrapped up the win on 85 minutes with a strong drive and confident finish.

On Saturday it's the clash of the top two as the undefeated Blues welcome a Ringmer AFC side who have 6 wins from 6. The game will be played at Hailsham Town FC.

Sidley Team: Masters, S Crabb, Walker, Featherstone, Hickman-Smith, Foster, Ellis, Carey, Cumming-Bart. N Crabb, Rogers. Subs: Cornford, McCue, Trickett

Battle Town II 4 - 6 Sidley United II - ESFL Division One

Sidley United II's made it three wins from three as they came from three goals down to come out on top in a goal-fest against Battle Town II.

With the sun shining and the Battle pitch looking on top form, it looked to be ideal conditions for the Blues but it didn't begin this way. Unable to find their rhythm, Sidley were caught out with a ball over the top with the Battle striker racing through and slotting past Paul Crittenden in the Sidley goal. A second goal followed as Battle got in one on one and Crittenden brought down the striker for a penalty. He was inches away from redeeming himself but the resulting spot kick just evaded him.

Things went from bad to worse when a clever Battle move ended with the left midfielder curling a brilliant effort into the bottom corner on 30 minutes to make it 3 - 0 and leave the Blues shell-shocked.

Sidley frustrations began to tell but they pulled a goal back when a clipped ball in from John Opaye-Tetteh found Alex Williams and he finished clinically. This breathed new life into Sidley as Opaye-Tetteh fed Graeme Stovell who slotted home at the second time of asking through the legs of the defender. With half time approaching, Sidley pulled level as Stovell fed Williams who drove into the box and smashed the ball past the Battle goalkeeper to level the scores.

In the second half the Blues finally started to move the ball and took control of the game, but it just wasn't happening in the final third. A triple change paid off within 10 minutes as the hard working Luke Dangerfield fed Williams who cleverly teed up Elphick in the middle of the area for his first goal for the Reserve side. Not resting on a one goal lead, Sidley kept coming forward and Gary Hempe made it 5 with a low drilled effort into the bottom corner from outside the area.

Sidley got their sixth goal when Hempe's corner found Elphick who headed home his second goal of the game. A clever Battle move found an unmarked player to tap home at the far post just before the final whistle but Sidley will be delighted to show character to come back from a 3 - 0 deficit to take full points. They know they will have to be on top form next week as they welcome Rye Town in the ESFL Challenge Cup.

Sidley Team: Crittenden, Opaye-Tetteh, Davies, Carey, Hempe, Wells, Dangerfield, Stovell, Clifford, Gilbert, Williams. Subs: Chasumba, Elphick, Rayner.

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