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Run comes to an end as Blues beaten by Rangers

(February 06, 2016)

Eastbourne Rangers 5 - 1 Sidley United - ESFL Division One

Sidley United's perfect league record came to an end as they were beaten on the 3G pitch by Eastbourne Rangers.

It all began so well for the Blues who were awarded a penalty in just the second minute as a ball into the box was handled by a Rangers defender. Gary Hempe stepped up and sent the goalkeeper the wrong way to put the Blues in front.

With strong wind blowing across the pitch, Sidley were in control during the opening 20 minutes and felt they should have been awarded a second penalty when Arron Scrace went down as he attempted to round the goalkeeper but the referee waved away the appeals.

And the game turned around in the space of 2 minutes as Rangers firstly equalised with a move down the left catching out Sidley as Ben Jesson scored before taking the lead after Rogers saved a strike across goal but Rangers forward Dan Wilkes was on hand to tap home and give the home side a half time lead.

Playing into the wind which was getting stronger in the second half Sidley struggled to create opportunities and instead found Rangers looking the more likely to get the next goal.

Rogers made a vital save from a header to keep Sidley in touch but the third goal for Rangers arrived on 65 minutes as a long cross field ball found a runner on the far side and he slid the ball across for Wilkes for another tap in.

The Blues tried valiantly to get forward but were susceptible to the counter attack with Rangers playing some neat football. There was a spell where there were more cards than chances as five Sidley players were booked for challenges before Rangers added some gloss to the score in the final moments.

They scored the fourth goal on 88 minutes again running through and although Rogers got a hand to the initial shot, the follow up was converted by Matthew Wheeler and 2 minutes later he scored a similar fifth, slotting home from the left of the area.

The result opens up the league as Rangers are now just 3 points behind the Blues with Old Hastonians also in the mix following their 2 - 0 win over The J.C Tackleway. Rangers face Old Hastonians next week in another important match in the race for the title.

Disappointing for the Blues to lose in sucfashion but the run was going to end at some point - almost a calendar year since Blues last lost in the league. It is now about how the team bounces back and they have a chance to do just that in the quarter final of the Sussex FA Junior Cup next week against Midway (1948) FC.

Sidley Team: Rogers, May, Hempe, Funnell, Aston, Carey (Mabb), Cochrane (Copley), Bailey (Cole), Elphick, Scrace, Roberts.

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