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Punnetts comeback to knock Blues out of cup

(March 25, 2023)

Punnetts Town 3 - 1 Sidley United - ESFL Challenge Cup Semi Final 

A brilliant Logan Copley goal briefly had a depleted Sidley on course for a cup final appearance but a late comeback from Punnetts Town put paid to their chance of silverware this season.

With cup rules and personal issues meaning that a number of players were ruled out, the Blues were only able to list one subsitute for this match. However they put up a good battle against a title chasing side. A tight first half passed without little incident as Punnetts had the majority of the ball but without really causing Sidley a lot of trouble - although the same was true at the other end as well.

Punnetts had more of the threat of opening the scoring but it proved to be the Blues who did on 59 minutes. A mix up in the Punnetts third on their right hand side presented the ball to Copley who executed a brilliant lob over the Punnetts goalkeeper and into the net to give Sidley the lead.

The Blues defended resiliently and could even have had a second goal as Copley rounded gobby goalkeeper Sam Wiegand but from a wide angle found his route to goal blocked by a covering defender. However, Sidley paid the price on 73 minutes as they failed on a couple of occasions to clear the ball and after a bit of pinball it was swept home from around 10 yards out by Alex Burton.

With their tails up, Punnetts sensed blood and against tired Sidley legs they finally got their reward as a good move down the right hand side saw the ball crossed in low to Casey Ham who swept home. Chasing the game, Sidley threw men forward in search of the equaliser and in the 5th minute of stoppage time they paid the price for having a lack of men back as Punnetts broke forward and Ham put the game to bed with a near post poked finish.

Sidley though should be proud of their battling efforts given the situation they found themselves in. Next week they return to league action as they welcome bottom of the table Robertsbridge United to Hooe Rec.

Sidley Team: Gray, Hilder, Mote, Bradbury, O. Shaw (Sam), Hempe, Wade, Witham, Carey, Ball, Copley.


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