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Punnetts pick off battling Blues

(January 27, 2024)

Sidley United 1 - 2 Punnetts Town - ESFL Challenge Cup Quarter Final 

Two quickfire goals turned the game around as Punnetts Town came from behind to inflict a first defeat in 8 games on Sidley and take their place in the semi finals of the cup.

The first half was a battle of attrition with both sides tentatively feeling each other out. Unfortunately this didn't result in any goalmouth action with neither goalkeeper tested as the half ended.

The start of the second half though exploded into life just 40 seconds in as Andy Atkin muscled through two challenges and the ball came through invitingly for Archie Ball who curled home his effort into the corner to put Sidley in front.

Punnetts hadn't forced Ritchie Gray into any serious trouble before they found the leveller. From a free kick in their own half, Punnetts moved the ball quickly to get in on the left hand side and their striker finished low to draw Punnetts level on 76 minutes. 

And just two minutes later, the visitors took the lead as a free kick into the box was swept home from 12 yards.

Sidley had a glorious late chance to force extra time as the ball came through to Tony Atkin but his header was scrambled clear for a corner.

A valiant effort from the Blues against a top three side. Next week they travel to Westfield II in another cup quarter final - this time the Macron Hastings Challenge Cup.

Sidley Team: Gray, May, Hempe, Mote, Jack, Eldridge, Burgon (Freeman), S.Atkin (van Wyk), Carey, Ball (T.Atkin), A.Atkin.

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