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Late goal denies Blues as Hastonians fight back

(April 09, 2016)

Sidley United 2 - 2 Old Hastonians - ESFL Division One

An 87th minute equaliser denied Sidley all three points as Old Hastonians recovered from 2 goals down to draw 2 - 2.

Whilst the early exchanges failed to create much goalmouth drama, Sidley were not quite as energetic as usual which perhaps was to be expected given their marathon midweek activity.

Hastonians did create a couple of opportunities but a good Rogers save as well as some wayward finishing meant they were unable to open the scoring.

Instead Sidley grabbed the opening goal rather fortuitously. Rogers' long kick upfield intended to get James Bailey away. Desperate to get something on the ball, Hastonians skipper Tom Cusden attempted to head the ball back to Saunders but diverted the ball past his goalkeeper to put the Blues in front on 24 minutes.

For the remainder of the half chances were at a premium with Sidley coming close as Chris Sanderson broke into the area but his shot flashed wide of the far post.

However at the start of the second half, Sidley doubled their lead. Good pressure from Bailey won the ball high up the pitch and he fed Aaron Cochrane who showed great composure in the area to finish low into the corner on 52 minutes.

Sidley were unable to hold onto the 2 goal advantage for long though. A Hastonians corner on 54 minutes was scrambled home by Will Cullen with the linesman honestly confirming that the ball had crossed the line before it was hooked away.

With their tails up, Hastonians began to exert a bit more pressure on the Sidley goal but Blues defended well and had chances of their own as both sides had free kicks in dangerous positions cleared away.

A controversial flag then denied Arron Scrace a third goal. A ball played forward towards the offside Ashley Elphick instead went through to Scrace who was onside but the flag had gone up against Elphick. The referee made the award but did speak to the linesman at some length.

As the game became more stretched, Saunders made a great save to deny Scrace before Hastonians hit the post with 5 minutes to go with a shot from the left of the area which was then cleared to safety.

But Hastonians were not to be denied a late goal as another set piece was eventually turned home by Todd Fitz-Hugh on 87 minutes to bring the visitors level.

Whilst naturally disappointed not to win the game, given Wednesday night the Blues may still find this a valuable point come the end of the season. The gap to Hastonians remains 9 points.

Next week's match at home to Eastbourne Rangers is sure to be a title decider. Rangers are three points ahead after their 3 - 1 win over Crowhurst but Sidley have 2 games in hand. It would appear whoever comes out on top next week would be overwhelming favourites to lift the title.

Sidley Team: Rogers, May, Hempe, Funnell, Copley, Eldridge, Cochrane (Elphick), Sanderson, Day, Bailey (Aston), Scrace.


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