Sidley United 2 - 3 Old Hastonians - ESFL Division One - Saturday 7th May 2016

Two late goals from the visitors stole a victory against a Sidley side who celebrated the Division One title on Saturday.

A first half which had a rather end of season feel about it saw Sidley dominate possession but fail to create much in the way of clear cut opportunities, with a number of shots going wide of the visitors' goal.

Sidley almost took the lead though on 27 minutes as a mix up at the back allowed Chris Copley a free header but his effort came back off the post before being cleared.

Hastonians had struggled to create much going forward either but led at half time when Chris Moon finished off a neat passing move by firing firmly past Rogers.

The second half continued much in the same vain with Sidley more in control of possession but limited in the chances created. However they levelled on 64 minutes as a good ball in from the left was headed powerfully home by John
Carey from just inside the area.

With their tails up Sidley went in search of the winner and on 79 minutes it looked like they'd found it. Good work from substitute Jordan Cole saw his low ball find Lee Roberts in the area who beat the defender and fired home to put Blues in front.

The game appeared to be petering out but Hastonians had other ideas. On 87 minutes a cross from the right which almost dropped underneath the crossbar caused Rogers problems and he could only push the ball down into the six yard box for Moon to tap home his second of the game.

And as the game ticked into the final minute another cross from the right found Dan Foster who headed past Rogers to steal a win which 5 minutes earlier seemed highly unlikely. 

ever, the afternoon really was about crowning a successful season which saw Sidley win the Sussex FA Junior Cup as well as the Division One title. Promotion may well come the way of Old Hastonians as well in the league shake up come summer but Blues can certainly look forward to next season in the Premier Division.

Sidley Team: Rogers, May, Hempe, Funnell, Copley, Carey (Eldridge), Day, Bailey (Cole), Elphick (Mabb), Corke, Roberts.

Sidley United - Crowhurst - ESFL Division One - Monday 2nd May 2016

Match not played as Crowhurst unable to field a team. Walkover win for Sidley United.

Wadhurst United vs Sidley United - ESFL Division One - Saturday 23rd April 2016

Match not played as Wadhurst United unable to raise a team. Walkover win for Sidley United.

Sidley United 1 - 0 Eastbourne Rangers - ESFL Division One - Saturday 16th April 2016

Sidley United took a giant step towards clinching the Division One title as they beat Eastbourne Rangers 1 - 0 thanks to Mark Funnell's header.

With Lee Roberts still away, Funnell was moved from his usual centre back role to upfront with Ben Eldridge and George Aston forming the central defensive pair.

In what proved to be a tight and competitive first half, Ashley Elphick had a good chance early on as the ball came through to him in the penalty area but his low shot went wide of the far post.
Chances proved to be limited but Sidley shaded the half with more half chances for Scrace and Funnell cleared away by the Rangers defence and Sanderson striking an effort from distance over the bar.
Rangers failed to really test Sidley goalkeeper Joe Rogers but there was always a sense that they posed danger. Their best move of the half came right before the whistle as a swift break saw an effort from goal looped just wide from around the penalty spot by Dylan Nanuck.
Early in the second period Sidley got away with a rare moment of miscommunication which allowed a cross from the left to find Dan Wilkes but he could only steer his effort wide of Rogers' near post. 
Gary Hempe had a piledriving effort from 30 yards tipped over the bar by the goalkeeper as Sidley pressed. With Simon Corke winning headers and Sidley driving on, the asecendancy was with the home side.
And on 78 minutes they got their goal. A cross from the right from George Aston found Funnell who glanced his header past the Rangers goalkeeper to give the Blues the lead.
The game opened up somewhat after that and Sidley had a chance on the break to seal the win from Elphick but his shot was just too high. 
Numerous times the offside flag denied both sides getting into dangerous positions as both defences kept high lines and were generally compact.
And that was especially true for Sidley as Rangers couldn't put Rogers under sustained pressure and the Sidley defence, who were resolute throughout, were able to cut out any dangerous balls forward. 
Sidley nerves weren't helped by almost 7 minutes of added time but they held out and were good value for the win.
The result means the Blues move level on points with Rangers, who lead the table due to their superior goal difference and who have 1 match remaining. The Blues though have 2 games in hand meaning they require 4 points from their final 3 league matches to be crowned champions. The Blues travel to Wadhurst United next Saturday.
Sidley Team: Rogers, May, Hempe, Aston, Eldridge, Carey, Sanderson, Elphick, Scrace (Bailey), Corke, Funnell (Day).

Sidley United 2 - 2 Old Hastonians - ESFL Division One - Saturday 9th April 2016

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 Sidley 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

Sidley United 6 - 4 Wadhurst United ( 3 - 3 at FT) - Sussex FA Junior Cup final - Wednesday 6th April 2016

Sidley United lifted the Sussex FA Cup after extra time in an epic final in which they came from behind 3 times.

In a game played under floodlights at Sussex FA headquarters in Lancing, the Blues fell behind on 8 minutes after a long ball over the top saw Sidley defenders appeal in vain for offside and as goalkeeper Joe Rogers came out, Lee Bates lifted the ball over him to give Wadhurst the lead.

Blues responded though on 12 minutes as Simon Corke's shot deflected to Ashley Elphick who finished cooly low into the far corner. Sidley then began to get on top and had a number of chances blocked on the line by Wadhurst defenders or shot just wide.

But Wadhurst went back in front against the run of play on 39 minutes as a free kick into the box was not well defended and Ryan Bateman turned the ball in at the far post to give Wadhurst a half time lead.

Blues levelled again on 48 minutes as Elphick's low shot was parried and Arron Scrace turned home the rebound. Wadhurst retook the lead on 69 minutes as a corner was powerfully headed into the net by John Penny, only for Sidley to equalise 2 minutes later as the always dangerous Scrace headed home a cross from the right and although both teams had further chances, the game went to extra time.

Sidley took the lead for the first time 7 minutes into the extra period as a good move saw the ball squared to Gary Hempe who fired low into the corner from the edge of the area. Sidley were looking strong in the extra period but Wadhurst were always in the game.

But in the second period Blues gained a 2 goal cushion as substitute James Bailey netted with a fine strike from outside the area after good work by Scrace on 114 minutes.

Back came Wadhurst though as Harry Bateman got past the Sidley defence to reduce the arrears with 2 minutes to go. But less than a minute later Sidley were awarded a penalty as Scrace was felled in the box and Hempe sent the Wadhurst goalkeeper the wrong way to finally seal the win with an incredible 6 - 4 score.

A first trophy for the Blues since they reformed in the East Sussex Football League in 2014 and they had to show real character to come from behind 3 times to do so. 

Sidley will have little time to relax however as the important fixtures keep on coming. The Blues can take a huge step towards securing promotion to the Premier Division when they entertain third placed Old Hastonians on Saturday. 

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

Old Hastonians 1 - 3 Sidley United - ESFL Division One - Monday 28th March 2016

An excellent first half for Sidley United helped defeat title rivals and close the gap on leaders Eastbourne Rangers to a single point.

In a performance which contrasted dramatically from Saturday's defeat at J.C. Tackleway, Sidley began positively and on the front foot with a John Carey effort going just wide in the game's early moments.

Sidley took the lead on 10 minutes when a Gary Hempe free kick seemed to deceive Hastonians goalkeeper Jon Saunders and the ball went through his hands and into the net.

Sidley then doubled their advantage on 17 minutes. Simon Corke's initial shot was parried by Saunders and Corke reacted quickest to steer the ball into the corner and put Sidley firmly in charge.

Hastonians seemed to struggle to get into the game and although they had a couple of free kicks in dangerous positions they failed to seriously test Rogers in the Sidley goal. 

However they reduced the arrears on 30 minutes. A long throw went straight to Andy Garman who steered the ball low past Rogers to give the home side hope.

The sense was that Hastonians had a threat about them and that Sidley needed to be resolute to snuff out any danger. But as it was it was Sidley who got the next goal as a free kick into the area on 35 minutes was turned into his own net by ex Sidley man Dom Clarke with Ashley Elphick in close attendance.

That goal settled Sidley down again and they went close to a fourth as good pressure high up the pitch from the energetic Elphick allowed Roberts a chance but Saunders smothered his shot.

Into the second half and the strong wind blowing across the pitch meant a lot of throw ins for both sides. Hastonians came forward more, searching a way back into the game but a couple of long range efforts went over the bar.

Sidley had chances on the counter as a marauding run by Ian May and a neat one-two with Roberts gave him a shooting opportunity but his effort was wide of the near post.

With Clarke pushed forward from the back, a Hastonians free kick into the box found its way through to him but he headed wide of Rogers' far post before Rogers made a vital save with around 8 minutes to play to deny Hastonians a route back into the match.

Sidley had chances to seal the game as Corke had a header from a corner cleared off the line before Roberts somehow hit the bar from a few yards out after the ball was played across to him by Arron Scrace.

However those misses didn't cost Sidley who held on through 6 stoppage time minutes to seal the win. A fabulous performance against a title rival serves as both a good response to defeat on Saturday and a confidence boost ahead of the Sussex FA Junior Cup Final against Wadhurst United next Wednesday. 

Sidley Team: Rogers, May, Hempe, Aston, Eldridge, Carey (Day), Sanderson, Corke, Elphick (Bailey), Scrace, Roberts (Cochrane).

The J. C Tackleway 3 - 2 Sidley United - ESFL Division One - Saturday 26th March 2016

Sidley United suffered a huge setback in their quest for the title as a hat-trick from Tackleway striker Charlie Cornford condemned them to their second defeat of the season.

The Blues began the stronger and had the best of the early exchanges before Tackleway scored on 6 minutes. Cornford's pace took him though on goal and as Sidley goalkeeper came out to meet him, he won the contest with Rogers to score for the home side. 

Sidley soon got into the ascendency though and created numerous chances, with the gamev virtually played in the Tackleway half. However they were unable to make the pressure pay. Tackleway's tactic was simple - to play the long ball and let Cornford use his pace and Sidley looked susceptible to it throughout.

Sidley did equalise just before the half time whistle as a good low ball in from Lee Roberts was turned high into the net by Arron Scrace as Sidley's dominance was finally rewarded.

The sense was though that Sidley weren't at their best, with several players carrying cccknocks or suffering illness. And three minutes into the second half Tackleway retook the lead with a virtually identical goal to their first, Sidley lost the midfield challenge and Cornford ran through before rounding Rogers and firing home.

There was a key 60 second period which could well have decided the result though. A Sidley corner was headed against the underside of the bar as opposed to going in. From the long kick forward Cornford challenged Rogers, whose attempted clearance rebounded off the striker and the ball rolled fortunately into the net to put the home side 3 - 1 to the good.

Despite the scoreline, Sidley still had the majority of the play and pulled a goal back on 69 minutes as a corner from the right was turned in at the near post by a Tackleway defender.

They then continued to press forward and Scrace came close to equalising as another good cross from Roberts found him at the far post but his effort was agonisingly wide. Blues had to play the final minutes with 10 men as James Godden picked up what appeared a bad knee injury and Tackleway were content to keep the ball high up the pitch as they sought to hold on to the win.

A frustrating result which surely hands the initiative to Eastbourne Rangers and makes Monday's match at Old Hastonians even more important.

Sidley Team: Rogers, Godden, Aston, Copley (Hempe), Eldridge, Day, Cochrane (Sanderson), Bailey (Carey), Scrace, Corke, Roberts.

Crowhurst 1 - 2 Sidley United - ESFL Division One - Saturday 19th March 2016

A brace of quality finishes from James Bailey gave Sidley a vital win to keep up the pressure at the top of the table.

A dreadful pitch with long grass and poorly visible lines made it nigh on impossible for any decent football to be played but both teams were determined to try their best. 

The first 15 minutes passed with little chances but with Crowhurst possibly playing the neater football in the middle of the pitch. However the first early chance fell to Sidley's Ashley Elphick after a throw in was laid off to him but he got too much power on his shot which went over the bar.

Crowhurst tried to get the ball out wide but Sidley nullified them fairly well and on the one occasion the defenders didn't close a cross down, the Crows striker headed over the bar from around 12 yards.

Sidley took the lead on 33 minutes although Crowhurst felt aggrieved about the manner of it. A Crows attack was flagged offside and the referee initially whistled for it but as Sidley goalkeeper Joe Rogers had the ball in his hands anyway he instead elected to let play carry on. Rogers' long kick was flicked on to Bailey who brilliantly delayed his shot, sending the defender to the floor, before firing low past Hankinson in the Crowhurst goal. A rare moment of quality giving Blues the lead.

The goal seemed to give Sidley fresh impetus and Aaron Cochrane flashed an effort just wide shortly after the goal as Sidley began finally to really take the game to the home side. Crowhurst responded with a good move just before half time which ended with a volley from the edge of the area going wide.

Sidley would have hoped to keep on the front foot in the second half but made the worst possible start as Crowhurst were awarded a penalty on 48 minutes. A shot from the edge of the area was deflected through to a striker who was with his back to goal and Rogers made a rather rash tackle to bring him down, giving the referee little choice. Gary Croft sent Rogers the wrong way to level the scores.

Determined to get back on track, Sidley carved out another good chance for Elphick on the right of the area as he beat the advancing Hankinson to the ball but again the shot had too much power as it went over the bar.

Crowhurst thought they had taken the lead as a shot from the edge of the penalty area hit the Sidley bar and bounced down before being cleared. The Crowhurst appeals that the ball had crossed the line were waved away by the referee who confidently declared the ball came down on the line, not over. 

Sidley went back in front on 75 minutes with another quality move. Arron Scrace, on as a sub for Elphick, played a cute ball through for Bailey to run on to and he beat the last defender to fire in low at the near post to put Blues back in front.

As Crowhurst threw men forward in search of the equaliser gaps appeared at the back which Sidley looked to exploit. Bailey came closest to getting his hat trick as he first chested a Cochrane cross over the bar and he did have the ball in the net from a corner in stoppage time but the referee had blown for a foul on the goalkeeper.

Crows had resorted to long kicks forward from Hankinson but Rogers and the Sidley defence dealt with them confidently and held out for what could be an important result in the title race.

A big Easter weekend lies ahead for Sidley with away trips to J.C. Tackleway and Old Hastonians in the space of 3 days before the Sussex FA Junior cup final against an improving Wadhurst United.

Sidley Team: Rogers, May (Mabb), Hempe, Eldridge, Copley, Carey, Cochrane, Elphick (Scrace), Bailey, Corke, Roberts.

Ticehurst 1 - 6 Sidley United - ESFL Division One - Saturday 12th March 2016

Sidley United moved to within a point of top spot in the league after easing to a 6 - 1 win over struggling Ticehurst.

The hosts' plight was emphasised by the fact they only had 10 players available with no substitutes and so the players who did play must be given credit for fulfilling the fixture in such tough circumstances.

However the Blues were determined to take advantage of the situation and indeed they dominated the play from the off with Ticehurst penned inside their own half. Sidley went in front after just 14 minutes as Aaron Cochrane scored with a direct free kick from 25 yards.

Blues doubled their advantage on 21 minutes as Aaron Scrace scored with a clever overhead kick before a brace from Lee Roberts on 28 and 34 minutes gave Sidley a 4 - 0 half time lead.

Six minutes into the second half Sidley were awarded a penalty as Scrace was brought down in the area but Cochrane's penalty hit the bar and was cleared away. The game then went through an uneven spell as Blues were caught between pushing for more goals or keeping possession. 

Ticehurst then pulled a goal back on 69 minutes after Sidley gave the ball away in midfield with Steve Travers scoring the counter attacking goal. But that seemed to jolt Sidley back into life and further goals from Simon Corke (76) and substitute Ashley Elphick (85) gave the Blues a comprehensive win.

The draw between title rivals Old Hastonians and Eastbourne Rangers also boosted Sidley's own prospects to leave the Blues a point off top spot with 2 games in hand on leaders Rangers. Blues also discovered their Sussex FA Cup final opponents will be Wadhurst United who beat Crowhurst 2 - 1. The final will take place at Culver Road, Lancing on Wednesday April 6th. Blues travel to Crowhurst next week.

A good all round performance for the Blues with a special mention for young Josh Mabb, making his first start for the Blues at right back.

Sidley Team: Rogers, Mabb, May, Funnell, Copley, Carey, Cochrane (Hempe), Bailey, Scrace (Elphick), Corke, Roberts (Eldridge)

Sidley United 4 - 1 Woodingdean Wanderers - Sussex FA Junior Cup Semi Final - Saturday 5th March 2016

A first half goal blitz saw Sidley through to the Sussex FA Junior Cup Final, despite finishing the game with 9 men.

Up against a youthful, inexperienced Woodingdean side, Sidley dominated from from beginning and took just 14 minutes to open the scoring. After a corner was half cleared, Ashley Elphick sent in a cross from the left which evaded everyone and found the top corner to give Blues a deserved lead.
They doubled that lead just a minute later as Ian May took aim from some 25 yards out and his shot went straight through the Woodingdean goalkeeper, who will feel he should have done better.
Sidley's third came on 21 minutes as May played in Arron Scrace who finished low past the goalkeeper to put Sidley firmly in charge.
Scrace had one goal disallowed for offside before getting his second from the penalty spot on 35 minutes as John Carey was brought down in the area and Scrace smashed the penalty home. Woodingdean created nothing and indeed looked totally overwhelmed playing a side who had more heart, desire and intensity.
Firmly in control, there was a flashpoint right on half time as Carey made a studs up tackle on a Woodingdean player, which despite winning the ball was a reckless tackle. The referee chose to give a yellow card instead of red but that didn't go down well with the Brighton side as ill feeling and frustration began to creep in.
The second half saw little in the way of chances as the rain and wind began but another flashpoint saw several Woodingdean players surround Chris Sanderson as well as their goalkeeper run 70 yards to get involved. In retaliation, captain Mark Funnell pushed one player in the chest and the referee chose to show Funnell a straight red card as a result.
There was then more controversy to follow. Sanderson, who picked up a booking earlier in the game was shown a second yellow for a fairly innocous foul, but the referee had seemingly forgotten his earlier booking and he failed to show the red card. However after some reminding from the Woodingdean players and checking with his linesman, the referee rectified his error a couple of minutes later and belatedly showed Sanderson the red to reduce Sidley down to 9 men.
Despite their numerical advantage, Woodingdean failed to text Rogers and instead Sidley went closest to the next goal as a goal kick was presented straight to Elphick, who went round the goalkeeper but put his shot over the crossbar from a tight angle.
Eventually Woodingdean did make use of the numerical advantage as on 85 minutes a low cross into the box was poked home by their baby faced striker but this elicited barely a celebration as the visitors knew it was a mere consolation. 
The referee blew the final whistle shortly afterwards to confirm Sidley's place in the final, to be played at Sussex headquarters in Lancing against either fellow league sides Crowhurst or Wadhurst United.
A thoroughly deserved win for the Blues but also one that came at a cost. Next up is a league encounter against Ticehurst.
Sidley Team: Rogers, May, Aston (Copley), Funnell, Eldridge, Carey (Cochrane), Sanderson, Elphick, Scrace (Bailey), Corke, Roberts.

Sidley United 1 - 3 Crowhurst - AET - Hastings FA Junior Cup - Saturday with February 2016

Sidley United were left to rue a string of missed chances as Crowhurst booked their place in the semi finals of this cup with an extra time win.

With a bitter crosswind blowing across the pitch, the opening 20 minutes was a fairly dull affair but slowly Sidley began to take control of the game, creating a number of chances with Ashley Elphick and Lee Roberts going closest. The Crows struggled to create and it took until the 44th minute for them to have their first shot at goal. However despite their dominance it looked like it could be a frustrating day for Sidley as they went to half time level.

However they took just 18 seconds of the second half to go in front. Elphick did well to win the ball high up the pitch and the return ball in to him was fired high into the net to give Blues a deserved lead.

Elphick then went close to getting his 2nd as he was played in again but his shot was parried by the goalkeeper onto the bar in what proved to be an important save.

Crowhurst levelled on 53 minutes as a corner into the Sidley box was not dealt with and Jordan Turner tapped home unopposed at the far post. The goal rattled Sidley for around 10 minutes as they lost the composure they had shown for most of the match.

However with the fresh legs of James Bailey and Arron Scrace on, Blues still created chances and almost won it right at the death as Scrace hit the post with a shot across the goalkeeper before it was scrambled away and so the game went to extra time.

But it was ultimately a poor first half of the extra period that cost Blues. On 93 minutes a Crowhurst free kick was headed on and into the path of Steven McGowan who finished low past Rogers to give Crows the lead. And things got worse shortly after as Sidley gave the ball away in midfield and after an attempted clearance struck McGowan, he again finished calmly to put Crows in command.

In the second period Sidley again made chances but a combination of the Crows goalkeeper and some wayward finishing kept them at bay as Crowhurst progressed to the semi finals.

Whilst a disappointing extra time performance cost the team, Sidley had enough chances in the 90 minutes to win the game and must be more clinical if they are to enjoy success in the big games coming up.

Sidley Team: Rogers, Godden (Funnell), May, Aston, Copley, Cochrane (Scrace), Sanderson, Elphick (Bailey), Corke, Roberts.

Midway 1948 FC 1 - 3 Sidley United - Sussex FA Cup Quarter Final - Saturday 13th February 2016

Sidley United responded to their first league defeat of the season in style as they saw off Midway to reach the semi finals of the Sussex FA Junior Cup.

The game appeared in jeopardy due to heavy rain and indeed only a last minute change of pitch saw the game go ahead and even then in very muddy conditions.

Blues began well with plenty of early possession but were unable to convert chances with Scrace and Roberts both seeing opportunities go begging. 

And against the run of play, Brighton and District League side Midway took the lead on 20 minutes as a ball over the top saw Veenaye Munsaram round Rogers in the Sidley goal and give the home side the lead which they took to the break.

Despite this setback, Sidley were in the ascendancy as they controlled the play and they restored parity on 57 minutes. John Carey played through Lee Roberts and he was wrestled to the ground by the last defender resulting in a penalty which was confidently converted by Arron Scrace.

And as Blues continued to carve out chances, they took the lead on 65 minutes as a free kick into the box saw Mark Funnell head past the goalkeeper to put Sidley in front.

Midway responded by coming forward more searching for an equalisser but weren't able to put Rogers under any serious pressure as the Sidley defenders kept the Midway strikers quiet. 

And Sidley were able to make sure of the win in the dying moments of the game as substitute Aaron Cochrane fired home after another good move to ensure that Sidley progressed. 

Blues will face Woodingdean Wanderers at home in the semi finals on March 5th. A good result in tough conditions and important to get back to winning ways. Next up is another important league game as Sidley face The J.C. Tackleway.

Sidley Team: Rogers, Godden, Aston, Funnell, Copley, Carey, Eldridge (Cochrane), Sanderson, Scrace (May), Corke (Elphick), Roberts.

Eastbourne Rangers 5 - 1 Sidley United - ESFL Division One - Saturday 6th February 2016

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 coolly 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. Cochrane had an effort from outside the area which went over the bar but Blues couldn't add to the scoreline.

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 on 27 minutes before taking the lead a minute later after Rogers parried 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 hom 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 such fashion 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.

Ticehurst 0 - 4 Sidley United - Sussex FA Cup - Saturday 23rd January 2016

A first half hat-trick from left back Gary Hempe helped Sidley through to the quarter finals of this cup competition.

With the game switched to Sidley's home ground on Friday night due to the state of Bell Field, the Blues began with an intent to make home advantage count and they started strongly, with plenty of pressure on the Ticehurst goal.

Blues were facing goalkeeper Ryan Hunt again in the Ticehurst goal, who almost single handled denied Sidley earlier in the season and initially there was some concern that he would again prove difficult to best as he denied Lee Roberts in the first few minutes and kept out a few Sidley corners as they dominated the play but failed to break though.

But the Blues went in front in spectacular style on 30 minutes. The ball was worked out to Hempe on the left and from a tight angle he drilled a powerful strike into the far corner to give Sidley a deserved lead.Hempe would then have the chance to double his and Sidley's lead on 40 minutes. Chris Sanderson danced through a couple of challenges before being hauled down in the area and Hempe stepped up to smash the penalty home.

And he completed his hat trick 4 minutes later. Roberts was played through on goal and as he rounded Hunt, the Ticehurst goalkeeper brought him down. Another referee may have chosen to issue the red card for denying a clear goal scoring opportunity but the ref chose not to punish Hunt. Hempe this time went down the middle and scored with confidence to round off a 14 minute hat-trick.

Sidley thought they had a fourth before the half time whistle as Ian May's strike from distance came through to Ashely Elphick who tucked home, only to see the offside flag controversially deny him as he seemed to come from some way back to get to the ball. However they went to the break 3 - 0 up and in control.

Ticehurst were unable to exert much pressure on the Sidley goal and the second half lacked some of the competitiveness of the first as Sidley somewhat took their foot off the pedal and the game became a bit more stretched. 

Some substitutions livened up Sidley, with the fresh legs of Scrace posing Ticehurst another problem. The fourth goal though came from the boot of John Carey who struck from the edge of the area on 80 minutes to put some gloss on the score.

Bailey went close to adding a fifth goal late on but in the end Sidley had to settle for the 4 goals. Blues into the Quarter Finals and await to see who they will face in the next round.

Sidley Team: Rogers, May, Hempe, Eldridge, Aston, Carey (Day), Sanderson, Cochrane (Corke), Elphick (Scrace), Bailey, Roberts.

Sidley United 1 - 0 The J.C Tackleway - ESFL Division One - Saturday 16th January 2016

A John Carey strike right at the end of the first half settled this tight league encounter and ensured Sidley made it a perfect 10 wins out of 10.

Having not played for over a month, both sides found it difficult to get rhythm into their game but the visitors began assuredly despite losing some key players over the holiday period.

Sidley won a succession of corners as they began to exert some control on the game but Tackleway were presented with the best opportunities to break the deadlock. Firstly Sidley goalkeeper Joe Rogers sliced a back pass but the Tackleway striker curled his effort wide of the post before another chance saw the striker lift his effort over Rogers but Ian May managed to clear before the ball got to the line.

After that Sidley started to make more opportunities with Arron Scrace on the left looking like he might get some joy. He volleyed a Simon Corke cross over the bar as Sidley pressed and they almost went ahead in style as a neat move ended with John Carey smashing an effort from outside the area off the bar.

But Sidley frustrations were eased right on the half time whistle. Again Carey took aim from the edge of the penalty area but this time he beat the Tackleway goalkeeper to give the Blues the lead at the interval.

The second half saw Tackleway press to try and find the equaliser but they were unable to force Rogers into any saves. Indeed it was Sidley who had chances to extend the lead as first Scrace rounded the goalkeeper but hit the post from a tight angle and then Ashley Elphick was played through one on one but steered his effort just wide of the post.

However in the end those missed chances mattered little as Sidley saw out the game and held on for the win and with it they made it a perfect 10 wins out of 10 to extend their lead at the top of the table.

Next up for the Blues is an away game at Ticehurst in the Sussex FA Cup.

Sidley Team: Rogers, Godden (Aston), May, Copley, Eldridge, Carey (Bailey), Day, Sanderson, Scrace, Corke (Elphick), Roberts.

Sidley United vs AFC Hastings - Sussex FA Cup - Saturday 12th December 2015

Match not played as AFC Hastings unable to raise a team. Walkover win for Sidley United.

AFC Hastings 1 - 3 Sidley United - ESFL Division One - Saturday 5th December 2015

Sidley United maintained their perfect league record with a hard fought win in the wind against AFC Hastings.

Sidley had won the last two encounters between the sides with relative comfort and would have been confident of another success coming into the match.

However with strong wind blowing constantly across the Bulverhythe from the off both sides struggled to create many chances and the first 20 minutes were played with little goalmouth activity.

Sidley though made the breakthrough on 26 minutes. A ball forward caused uncertainty between the Hastings goalkeeper and defender, possibly due to the wind, and Ashley Elphick stole in between them and rolled the ball home to put Sidley in front.

The rest of the first half passed by with little activity of note although a scramble in the goalmouth could have given the Blues a second goal but they couldn't quite force the ball home.

Playing with the advantage of the wind in the second half Sidley remained the side more likely to score albeit without creating clear cut chances.

That changed on 56 minutes as a good move down the right hand side saw the ball crossed into the centre where Simon Corke cleverly dummied and Arron Scrace behind him smashed the ball past the goalkeeeper to double Sidley's lead.

As some tasty challenges went in, there was a flashpoint with about 20 minutes remaining which saw 3 AFC Hastings players booked as well as Sidley's John Carey.

Having been mostly comfortable, Sidley may have felt the game was petering out but on 74 minutes the home side got a lifeline. A neat move down the right saw the Hastings forward get a shot away which flew past Rogers at his near post and into the net to restore life to the game.

That goal have AFC Hastings a lift and they changed shape as they pushed forward to try and equalise. This left them vulnerable at the back but Sidley were unable to take the chances they had to seal the game.

However they did secure all three points right at the end as Lee Roberts fed Scrace who shot into the far corner with the last kick of the game to seal the win.

Tricky conditions meant that the performance was always secondary today but the three points maintain Sidley's winning run and extend the lead at the top of the table to 14 points.

Next week sees us meet AFC Hastings again, this time at home in Hastings FA cup action.

Sidley Team: Rogers, May, Aston, Copley, Eldridge, Carey, Sanderson, Elphick (Cochrane), Bailey, Corke (Roberts), Scrace.

Sidley United vs Ticehurst - ESFL Division One - Saturday 28th November 2015

Match not played as Ticehurst unable to raise a team. Walkover win for Sidley United.

Sidley United 6 - 1 AFC Hastings - Hastings FA Junior Cup - Saturday 21st November 2015

Sidley United marched into the Quarter Finals of this cup competition with a comfortable win against league rivals AFC Hastings.
The tone for the game was set from the off as the visitors had to begin with just 10 men although the numbers were levelled up about 5 minutes into the game. 
Blues began on the front foot and didn't have too long to wait to make the breakthrough. Simon Corke stole the ball in a dangerous area and he fed Chris Sanderson in the area who laid the ball back to Lee Roberts who scored with a low strike on 11 minutes.
The visitors were guilty of some strong challenges as they struggled to contain a rampant Blues side. Sidley looked like scoring every time they came forward and they doubled their lead on 23 minutes as captain Mark Funnell swept home from an Adam Day cross.
The chances continued to fall to the home side, as Roberts rounded the goalkeeper but put his shot wide. However he made amends a few minutes later as again Sidley won the ball high up the pitch and Roberts played in Scrace who was left unmarked and he finished well to give Sidley a 3 - 0 half time lead.
With the wind behind them in the second half, Sidley looked to extend the score and soon got the fourth goal. On 52 minutes, Scrace did well on the left and his cross was turned in at the back post by Roberts, via the goalkeeper.
The game then lost some of the competitive edge in the following 20 minutes although Blues retained more of the ball. However the gloss was added to the scoreline with two quick goals as first Roberts completed his hat trick on 77 minutes before a minute later Scrace got his second goal by riding a last ditch tackle and poking the ball under the goalkeeper to give Sidley a 6 - 0 lead.
The desired clean sheet was denied Sidley though as on 82 minutes a free kick into the home area saw the referee award a penalty as he adjudged Funnell to have kicked a striker as they went for the ball, despite a lack of appeal. The resulting penalty was dispatched high into the net but it made little difference to the end result as Sidley strode into the next round with a commanding performance.
The quarter final draw sees Sidley at home to league rivals and somewhat cup specialists Crowhurst in ehat promises to be a tricky encounter. Sidley beat Crowhurst 3 - 1 in the league match earlier in the season.
Next up for the Blues is a home game against Ticehurst in the league before two more encounters against AFC Hastings.
Sidley Team: Rogers, May, Aston, Funnell, Eldridge (Copley), Day (Bailey), Sanderson, Godden (Carey), Scrace, Corke, Roberts.

Sidley United 2 - 1 Wadhurst United - ESFL Division One - Saturday 14th November 2015

Sidley United made it 7 wins out of 7 in the league by seeing off basement side Wadhurst United 2 - 1 in poor conditions.

Blues were forced into a change even before kick off as Gary Hempe was unable to shake off a groin injury and so new signing from Bexhill United George Aston, usually a midfielder, had to slot in at left back.

The Blues may have had a perfect record coming into the game but it was Wadhurst who shocked the hosts with an early goal. A neat move was flicked past the Sidley defenders and into the path of Wadhurst striker Lee Bates and he rolled the ball past Rogers to give the visitors the lead on 5 minutes.

Sidley knew they needed to respond quickly and they did just that by equalising on 8 minutes. A good run by Arron Scrace got him into a shooting position and although his effort was parried by the Wadhurst goalkeeper, James Bailey followed it in and rifled home to bring Sidley level.

Blues then began to get on top as the rain continued. They fashioned a few chances from distance but had to wait until the 34th minute to go in front.

A cross into the box looped up in the air and striker Lee Roberts showed great strength to hold off his defender and turn before steering a low shot into the corner of the net and give Sidley a lead at half time.

As conditions worsened with the rain getting heavier, Wadhurst began to be more adventurous and threw an extra player forward but without major effect until the game's big flashpoint.

With a little over 20 minutes to go, an off the ball incident sparked a mass brawl, during which the referee was quick to pick out Wadhurst number 6 Edward Clark as the instigator. The outcome was a red card for Clark for a headbutt on Sidley midfielder John Carey.

With a man advantage, Sidley pressed for a killer third goal to see off the game and the match became quite open as Wadhurst remained forceful in their attempt to restore parity.  

Blues had the clearer chances, with Chris Sanderson creating plenty of opportunities for colleagues but the third goal just wouldn't arrive. 

Indeed going into the last 10 minutes there was a danger that Wadhurst might sneak an equaliser as they threw everybody forward, including the goalkeeper at one corner. However Sidley held firm and clinched the three points to remain top of the pile with a perfect record of 7 wins from 7.

Next up for the Blues is a break from league action as they face AFC Hastings in the Hastings FA Junior Cup.

Sidley Team: Rogers Godden, Aston, Eldridge, Funnell, Carey, Sanderson, Cochrane (Day), Bailey (Corke), Scrace, Roberts.

Partridge Green I 0 - 3 Sidley United - Sussex FA Junior Cup - Saturday 31st October 2015

Sidley United progressed in this cup competition with a comfortable win at West Sussex side Partridge Green I.

The Blues came into the game on the back of an impressive run of form and it didn't take long for them to replicate that form against a side top of Division Four North in the West Sussex League.

Lee Roberts scored after 7 minutes to put Blues in front and he doubled his and Sidley's tally with a second goal on 20 minutes to give Sidley a 2 goal cushion at the break and they never looked like surrendering that.

James Bailey made the game safe just 2 minutes into the second period with the third goal and although Sidley created numerous opprtunities they had to settle for a 3 - 0 win in the end.

The Blues reward is a home for against AFC Hastings on December 5th, meaning Sidley will face them in all 3 cup competitions they entered this season.

Sidley now have another weekend off before returning to league action at home to Wadhurst United on November 14th.

Sidley Team: Rogers, May (Godden), Hempe, Funnell, Eldridge, Carey, Sanderson, Cochrane (Day), Bailey, Corke (Scrace), Roberts.

J.C Tackleway 1 - 3 Sidley United - ESFL Division One - Saturday 17th October 2015

Sidley United came from behind to win a battle of a match at J.C Tackleway and make it 6 wins from 6 to stay top of Division One.

The Blues began strongly with the wind advantage in the first half but found a similar problem from last week hampering them - their finishing. Lee Roberts missed two good chances to open the scoring, as firstly he shot straight at the goalkeeper when through one on one and then found the side netting having beaten the last defender. A Gary Hempe free kick was well saved and Arron Scrace was also denied as Sidley were well on top.

But almost predictably, Sidley were made to pay for not taking their chances. On their first breakaway, Tackleway forward Charlie Cornford cut inside full back Ian May and fired the ball high into the net past goalkeeper Joe Rogers to give the home side the lead on 18 minutes.

Sidley were then forced to make a change as Chris Copley was injured in a challenge and after a lengthy stoppage, was replaced by James Bailey. Sidley then got the goal they had threatened on 32 minutes as an Aaron Cochrane corner was nodded in by Ashley Elphick to level the scores.
The remainder of the half saw Blues goalkeeper Rogers was booked as he chased a Tackleway forward out of the area and fouled him some way from goal. Elphick also picked up an injury and had to be replaced by James Godden before the half finished. 

Kicking into the wind in the second half, there was a sense that this might actually benefit the Blues and indeed they took the lead on 52 minutes. Excellent work from Roberts and a good pass from Godden fed Bailey, who smashed the ball high into the far corner of the net to give Sidley the lead.

The game then became a little scrappy, instigated by a penalty decision not given to Sidley as Roberts appeared to be hauled down by the last defender but the referee chose not to award the penalty. A few late challenges saw two Tackleway players booked as the game became a real battle and on occasion tempers were frayed. 

But Sidley kept their nerve and put the result beyond doubt on 86 minutes. Good control by Cochrane allowed him to play in Bailey down the right. The goalkeeper came out to meet him but Bailey beat him to the ball and poked it back to Simon Corke on the edge of the area, who slammed the ball into the net to seal the win.

The result maintained Sidley's 100% record in the league ahead of a break from league action now. Blues are without a fixture next week before resuming with a cup trip to Partridge Green on the 31st of October.
Sidley Team: Rogers, May, Hempe, Funnell, Copley (Bailey), Carey, Cochrane, Elphick (Godden), Scrace (Sanderson), Corke, Roberts.

Sidley United 2 - 0 AFC Hastings - ESFL Division One - Saturday 10th October 2015

A thoroughly dominant performance made it a perfect 5 out of 5 for Sidley and saw them extend their lead at the top of the table to 6 points.
Blues began the stronger of this encounter against a side they lost to in cup competition 2 weeks ago, and had the majority of the play from the start but couldn't quite create a clear cut opportunity.
Despite this pressure it was AFC who had the best chance in the first half hour as Sidley goalkeeper Rogers first had to make a smart low save before moments later the AFC Hastings striker put an effort wide of the post with only Rogers to beat.
Those moments aside, Sidley were constantly making chances and seemed certain to score but while Arron Scrace and John Carey both came close, they couldn't make the breakthrough before half time and the first half ended goalless.
Sidley didn't have to wait long to get the goal they had been threatening though. In the first minute of the second half, a Sidley corner was missed by the goalkeeper, who came to punch, and defender Chris Copley lifted the ball over him and into the net to give Sidley a deserved lead.

The second goal followed soon after on 54 minutes. Lee Roberts did excellently to win the ball on the right as the AFC defender tried to shepherd the ball out of play. Roberts fed Simon Corke who beat the last defender and rounded the goalkeeper, only to see Chris Sanderson steal the ball off his toe as he slammed the ball into the net to make the score 2 - 0.

Sidley were thoroughly on top and they continued to fashion chance after chance but couldn't add to the scoreline as Roberts, Bailey and Scrace all missed good chances and Aaron Cochrane hit the post. 
However the result never appeared in doubt despite these misses and Sidley saw out the game to make it a perfect record with 5 wins from 5. And the good news continued for Sidley as closest rivals Eastbourne Rangers' defeat meant that Sidley extended their lead at the top of the table to 6 points.
Sidley Team: Rogers, May, Hempe, Funnell, Copley, Carey (Cochrane), Thompson, Sanderson, Elphick (Roberts), Corke, Scrace (Bailey).

Sidley United 2 - 0 Eastbourne Rangers - ESFL Division One - Saturday 3rd October 2015

Sidley United went top of the table after 2 goals in the second half beat previous leaders Eastbourne Rangers.
Both sides came into the game with maximum points after Sidley United were awarded the 3 points from their opening game against Ticehurst as their goalkeeper Ryan Hunt was not eligible to play in the match and so both sides had a chance to end the day top of the pile. 
The visitors, who had scored 18 goals in their opening 3 league games, made a composed opening and fashioned the games best chance early on. A ball over the top saw a Rangers player free down the right but his cross was steered over the bar by the striker with only Rogers to beat.
Sidley gradually began to get the ball further forward and the game was very even in the first half with Rangers looking for the quick ball over the top and Sidley getting some success down the wings but the first half ended 0 - 0.
Blues began the second period better and slowly but surely the play was more often in and around the Rangers penalty area. Still though clear cut chances were at a premium until the opening goal.
A ball into the area from the left wing fell at the feet of Arron Scrace who smashed an effort against the underside of the bar. As others stopped to appeal that the ball had crossed the line, Scrace himself put the uncertainty to bed by heading the rebound past the goalkeeper to give Sidley the lead on 65 minutes.
Sensing that the game was slipping away from them, Rangers pressed forward more and allowed themselves to be more vulnerable to the counter attack. Both Scrace and Corke had good chances to get the second goal but could not find the net to relieve the nerves.
However Sidley did get the second goal as the game moved into the 90th minute. Substitute Aaron Cochrane worked the ball across well to find fellow sub James Bailey at the far post and somehow he bundled the ball home to finally seal the win.
An excellent victory against a strong Eastbourne Rangers side and even more impressively perhaps was a clean sheet which was well deserved by a Blues team who defended resolutely and took their chances when they came, which was the difference in the end.
Sidley Team: Rogers, May, Hempe, Funnell, Copley, Carey, Sanderson, Elphick (Bailey), Thompson (Cochrane), Scrace

AFC Hastings 3 - 1 Sidley United - Birchwood Group Challenge Cup - Saturday 26th September 2015

Sidley United once again seemed to endure struggles in cup competition as they bowed out of the Birchwood Group Challenge Cup by losing 3 - 1 to AFC Hastings.

Previously unbeaten, Sidley made a slow start to this game which allowed AFC to take the initiative, forcing the Blues into uncharacteristic errors. The goal they had been threatening since kick-off arrived in the 30th minute, to be followed just 4 minutes later by a second as Sidley defender Gary Hempe headed a ball into his own box, where a grateful AFC player knocked it home. 

Sidley started to get a foothold in the game thereafter withJames Bailey hitting the bar and they  finally scored on the stroke of half-time when a strong run and cross by Ian May was met with a firm finish from Aaron Cochrane to make the score AFC Hastings 2 - 1 Sidley at the end of the first half. 

With a goal back, Sidley started the second half strongly, pinning the home side back and forcing a succession of corners. Pressing hard for an equaliser, Sidley left themselves vulnerable to the counter-attack, and on 53 minutes that's exactly what happened as AFC made good use of their pacey forwards to capitalise on a quick break and score a third goal.  

Sidley pressed on though, again hitting the bar before being awarded a penalty which was taken by substitute Keith Miles who had just come on. However the prospect of getting back into the game was dashed as Miles's penalty was saved and the game drifted to the final whistle.
A below par showing from Sidley means progress to the next round of the Cup for AFC Hastings who were well worth the win and, as generally agreed by the spectators, simply "wanted it more".

Sidley Team: Rogers, Godden, Hempe, Funnell, Copley, Carey, Sanderson, Cochrane (Miles), Bailey (Corke), Elphick (Scrace), May.  

Wadhurst United 1 - 2 Sidley United - ESFL Division One - Saturday 19th September 2015

Two first half goals from Sidley defenders were enough to seal 3 points at Wadhurst.

The game faced a major obstacle even before kick off after the appointed match official was unavailable and so Wadhurst were forced to supply a substitute referee.

Sidley started brightly, forcing early corners and putting the Wadhurst goal under pressure. Unfortunately, Ben Eldridge had to be substituted early on due to a hamstring problem and he was replaced by Sidley legend Chris Copley, who soon showed that he has lost none of the will to win that he is known for. 

With Sam Thompson and John Carey dominating the middle of the pitch and pacey Aaron Scrase and Ian May raiding down the wings, Sidley were strong in every area and only needed to start converting the chances that would come their way.

Sidley opened the scoring on 35 minutes with a fine free kick from Aaron Cochrane into the box ending up at the feet of centre back Mark Funnell to tap in. 

Sidley then doubled their lead from another right on half time when Gary Hempe launched a rocket of a shot which clipped the inside of the post, then hit the underside of the bar before bouncing down over the line.

Playing down the slope in the second half, Sidley virtually camped in the Wadhurst half. Despite this, they found it hard to create chances, with many through balls running away down the slope. 

Wadhurst got a goal back on 84 minutes when on a rare counter they benefitted from a lucky bounce of the ball and scored. This gave the home side a lift and they played their best football of the match in the last ten minutes as they looked for an equaliser. 

The introduction of Ashley Elphick livened up the Sidley side though as they saw the game out and held on for the win. Back to back wins and another good performance from the Blues, showing a great work ethic and team spirit which bodes well for an exciting season.

Sidley Team: Rogers, May, Hempe, Funnell (c), Eldridge (Copley), Carey, Sanderson, Cochrane (Bailey), Thomson, Godden, Scrace (Elphick).

Sidley United 3 - 1 Crowhurst - ESFL Division One - Saturday 12th September 2015

Sidley United picked up their first league win of the season as they saw off a competitive Crowhurst outfit with 2 goals in the last 10 minutes.

Crowhurst began the stronger and Sidley goalkeeper Joe Rogers had to make a good save with his feet within the first 20 minutes.

But after weathering the early pressure Sidley gradually began to get a foothold in the match and came closest when Chris Copley's header from a corner cannoned off the post before being cleared. 

And as Sidley continued to press, they were rewarded right on half time. A neat move involving Corke and Scrase saw the ball laid off to Sam Thompson who struck a powerful low shot which went in off the post to give Sidley a half time lead.

The second half saw Crowhurst again beginning to exert some pressure but it took until the 72nd minute for them to break through when a shot from the edge of the area from Karl Tomlin beat Rogers and brought the scores level. 

At that stage the game was finely balanced with both sides looking to try and get the next goal but it was Sidley who notched in the 83rd minute when Ashley Elphick was played in and he steered a low shot across the goalkeeper and into the far corner to restore Sidley's lead.

And things got even better for the home side just 2 minutes later as a good move saw Elphick in the area and he unselfishly squared across goal for Arron Scrace to tap home.

Those late goals were enough to see off the Crowhurst challenge and Sidley took the 3 points to maintain a strong start to the season.

Sidley Team: Rogers, May, Hempe, Copley, Funnell, Eldridge, Carey (Godden), Thompson (Cochrane), Elphick, Scrace, Corke (Bailey)

Ticehurst 1 - 1 Sidley United - ESFL Division One - Saturday 5th September 2015

(Sidley United later awarded the 3 points as Ticehurst fielded an ineligible player)

Sometimes in life you don't always get what you deserve. 

So that proved the case on Saturday for Sidley United, who dominated this match and yet only came away with a point thanks in no small measure to man of the match Ticehurst goalkeeper Ryan Hunt.

The Blues began brightly and kicking downhill in the first half soon got on top. Arron Scrase had the first real opportunity as he beat Hunt to a ball over the defence but his header went agonisingly wide. Hunt produced the first of several wonder saves shortly after when Ashley Elphick's thunderous volley was somehow tipped onto the bar and over by Hunt.

Another good low save from a deceptive cross saw the sides go in at half time goalless. The trend continued despite Sidley kicking up hill in the second half with Simon Corke denied by Hunt before Sidley suffered a real shock.

A good bit of skill down the right by the Ticehurst forward and a bit of a lucky ricochet in the area saw Rob Briley slot the ball into the net on 57 minutes to give Ticehurst the lead against the run of play and all the missed chances seemed like they were going to cost Sidley.

In fact things could have got worse almost straight from kick off as a sloppy ball was cut out and Ticehurst raced through but managed only to find the angle of the crossbar from a wide angle. 

Sidley made a double substitution as they got back on the front foot and substitute Aaron Cochrane created Sidley's equaliser as he picked out a wonderful cross to the back post where the pacey Arron Scrace got in to head past Hunt on 72 minutes.

Sensing that the advantage was back with them, Sidley pressed for the winner. Corke had the ball in the net with a header but the offside flag denied him before Hunt made another top save, tipping Corke's powerful shot onto the bar. Despite the rest of the game being played in the Ticehurst half, Sidley were unable to find the breakthrough and had to settle for a point.

Disappointing not to win a game that Sidley so thoroughly dominated for long spells, but on the positive side the team played well for the most part and on another day may have scored more.

Sidley Team: Rogers, May, Hempe, Funnell, Eldridge, Day (Thompson), Carey (Godden), Sanderson, Elphick (Cochrane), Scrace, Corke.


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