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10 man Bexhill sink Sidley

(April 08, 2023)

Bexhill Town 2 - 1 Sidley United - ESFL Premier Division 

Ten men Bexhill Town overcame a goal and a man deficit at the interval to maintain their lead at the top of the ESFL Premier Division. 

With the game reversed to Hooe Rec due to the unavailability of Bexhill College, Sidley made a strong early start and took the lead on 5 minutes when a corner from the left was powered home by recent new signing Dan Goergen. The Blues may have had a second goal when an almost identical corner was met by Andy Atkin but Town goalkeeper Dan Hart was adjudged to have just prevented the ball from crossing the line.

Town struggled to cause Sidley too many problems but earned a route back into the game on 28 minutes as Sidley goalkeeper Ritchie Gray came out to meet a cross and clattered into the Town striker with the result being a penalty awarded to Town. However, Gray made amends with a terrific save high to his left to keep out Town skipper Liam Richards' spot kick.

Going into the break a goal behind, Town striker Harry Saville then earned himself the most needless red card for foul and abusive language towards the assistant who had very little to do in the half. 

But losing a man in this manner may have galvanised Town who came out the stronger in the second half with Sidley rather surrendering their midfield shape. On 65 minutes Town won another penalty from a clumsy challenge in the box and this time the responsiblity fell to Tommy Whelan to take it. Despite Gray getting a hand to his effort, the ball found the back of the net to restore parity.

Town were definitely in the ascendancy but they were indebted to the honesty of the Sidley linesman on 74 minutes as the ball pinballed around the Sidley six yard box before dropping over Gray. There was some uncertainty as the ball was hooked out but the linesman flagged to indicate the ball had crossed the line and Town were awarded the goal.

Sidley pushed forward late on looking for a late equaliser and although a last gasp free kick into the box found a Sidley head, the ball drifted wide and Town held on to claim the points.

The Blues may come away disappointed not to take anything from the game but can be proud of their conduct both on and off the field. Next week they travel to Tilekiln to face Rock-A-Nore.

Sidley Team: Gray, Wade, Goergen, Mote, Hempe, Hilder (Shaw), Carey, Ball, Witham (B. Atkin), A. Atkin, Copley.

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