Sidley United 1 - 2 Sedlescombe Rangers - ESFL Premier Travel Challenge Cup Final - Saturday 4th May 2019

It was a disappointing end to the season for Sidley United as Sedlescombe Rangers defeated them to win the ESFL Premier Travel Challenge Cup. 

The ESFL Champions came into the game unbeaten since the turn of the year but they could have been behind in the first minute as a good ball in from the right was fired over the bar from six yards by the striker. 

Sidley worked their way into the game and Sean Baldwin came closest to opening the scoring for them; first heading over at the far post before his left foot strike from the edge of the area flew just wide as Sidley looked the stronger side in the final 20 minutes of the half. 

In the second half Sidley continued to push but they gifted Sedlescombe the advantage. The Blues lost possession in the midfield and allowed Sedlescombe to break forward and Dom Bristow fired low into the far corner on 64 minutes. 

Worse was to follow just two minutes later as a move down theit right saw some hesitancy in the area and the ball eventually fell to Philip Hatch who finished high into the net to double Sedlescombe's lead. 

The Blues had to come forward and they brought themselves back into the game on 77 minutes. A good run by Danny Ellis saw his low ball in turned home by Arron Scrace. 

Sidley pushed forward to try and get the equaliser, leaving gaps at the back but Sedlescombe were unable to punish them. In the final minute of four stoppage time minutes a scramble in the Sedlescombe area saw the ball hit the post as Sidley agonisingly couldn't force it over the line. 

Congratulations to Sedlescombe on their win who took full advantage of a few bad minutes for the Blues to claim the trophy. The club wish all supporters an enjoyable summer and we look forward to seeing everyone at the start of next season. 

Sidley Team: Langley-Fineing, Walker, Scrace, Copley (Dadswell), McEniry, Funnell, Elliott-Noye, Wells, Ellis, Carey, Baldwin (Elphick). 

Sidley United 5 - 1 Robertsbridge United - ESFL Premier Division - Saturday 20th April 2019

Sidley United clinched the ESFL Premier Division title with a convincing victory at home to Robertsbridge United.

The Blues came into the game knowing that a point would be enough but they were determined to grab the game by the scruff of the neck from the start. After missing a good early chance they took the lead on 18 minutes as a long throw in by Charlie Cornford was headed home by Danny Ellis.

Sidley looked to be comfortable when Sean Baldwin added a second goal on 31 minutes, converting Lee Carey's pinpoint cross. But after Zac McEniry was sinbinned for dissent - the first time a Sidley player has received the new punishment - the resulting free kick saw Ben Thorpe head home unmarked to bring Robertsbridge back into the game. 

At half time Sidley could have started to feel the nerves but just two minutes into the second half Cornford notched his first goal for the club to again put daylight between the sides. 

Sidley's fourth goal arrived on 71 minutes as McEniry back headed a corner over the Robertsbridge goalkeeper. With confidence high and the result assured, Cornford powered home his second and Sidley's fifth goal on 79 minutes. 

The final minutes saw Sidley see out the game before the celebrations could truly begin as the Blues ensured they finished the campaign having won every home match this season. A magnificent campaign which could yet conclude with another trophy as Sidley face Sedlescombe Rangers in the ESFL Premier Travel Challenge Cup Final on May 4th at The Pilot Field. 

Sidley Team: Langley-Fineing, Walker, Scrace (Day), McEniry, Copley, Elliott-Noye (Funnell), Wells, Ellis, Cornford (Elphick), Carey, Baldwin.

Sdlescombe Rangers 1 - 2 Sidley United - ESFL Premier Division - Saturday 30th March 2019

A Lee Carey double continued Sidley United's winning run and ensured they take the fight for the title to the final game of the season. 

The Blues almost went in front after 20 seconds but Danny Ellis's strike came back off the post. Jordan Cole then narrowly headed wide as Sidley looked threatening early on. 

Sidley remained on the front foot and took the lead on 22 minutes. Arron Scrace did well to beat his man on the left and although Alfie Austin in the Sedlescombe goal parried his low shot, Carey was on hand to tap home. 

Sedlescombe created little but were awarded a penalty in the final minute of the half for a pull in the area. Fortunately for Sidley though the penalty came back off the post and the whistle was blown for half time. 

The second half saw Sedlescombe exert more pressure on the Sidley defence but they found it hard to create a clear cut opportunity. 

Sidley then got the second goal as a high ball into the area was dropped by Austin and from inside the six yard box Carey tapped home. 

Cornford had a couple of strikes well saved before Scrace was then brilliantly denied a third by Austin. With the game almost finished, Sedlescombe got a goal back as a strike from outside the area by Dom Bristow found the corner but there wasn't even time for the restart as the referee immediately blew for full time. 

A terrific win for Sidley who continue their excellent winning run. The Blues don't play for 3 weeks now and will wait to see how their title rivals results will affect their chances of lifting the crown on the final game which is at home to Robertsbridge United. 

Sidley Team: Langley-Fineing, Cole (Corke), Scrace, McEniry, Funnell, Elliott-Noye, Dadswell, Wells, Ellis, Carey, Cornford. 

Robertsbridge United 1 - 2 Sidley United - ESFL Premier Travel Challenge Cup Semi Final - Saturday 23rd March 2019

Sidley United booked their place in the ESFL Premier Travel Challenge Cup Final with a stirring late comeback to beat Robertsbridge United. 

A tall and imposing Robertsbridge side looked dangerous at set pieces but Sidley fashioned the better chances in the first half. 

Arron Scrace had a header which went just wide before a similar move saw Sean Baldwin also head over the bar. The best chance of the half through fell to Lee Carey who fired over when played through on goal. 

The chances continued to come for Sidley after the break. Carey had a shot cleared off the line by a defender before Danny Ellis' terrific strike was tipped onto the bar by the Robertsbridge goalkeeper. 

But those missed chances looked as if they may come back to haunt the Blues as the home side struck in the 78th minute as a corner was eventually headed home at the far post by Ben Hardy. 

Sidley responded almost immediately though. A clever run from Scrace saw him round the goalkeeper and slot home on 80 minutes. That swung the momentum back into Sidley's favour and it seemed there would only be one winner after that. 

And on 84 minutes the goal they deserved came as a bullet header from a corner from Zac McEniry gave Sidley the lead. 

Robertsbridge threw men forward late on to try and rescue the game but Sidley held firm to book their place in the final at The Pilot Field against Sedlescombe Rangers on Monday 29th April. 

Before that though the two sides will meet next week at Bexhill Road in a crucial league match. 

Sidley Team: Langley-Fineing, Walker, Scrace, Copley (Funnell), Elliott-Noye, McEniry, Dadswell (Cole), Wells, Ellis, Carey, Baldwin. 

St Leonards Social 0 - 3 Sidley United - ESFL Premier Division - Saturday 16th March 2019

Sidley United kept up their push for the title with a comfortable victory in difficult conditions on Saturday.

A strong wind contributed to a large number of throw ins in the first half as both sides struggled with the conditions. However Sidley had the better chances. Charlie Cornford went close with a header before Arron Scrace was denied by a smart low save from the Social goalkeeper. 

At half time it felt as if the tricky conditions may be more likely to deny Sidley than the Social defence. But Sidley nerves were eased on 58 minutes as Cornford hit a powerful low cross-cum-shot from the right hand side which deflected off an unfortunate Social defender and into the net. 

Mark Funnell doubled Sidley's lead on 69 minutes as a corner was initially cleared and from the second cross, Funnell headed home via the post. 

Social created little going forward and Sidley always seemed to be in control of the match. In the final minute Lee Carey executed a terrific lob over the goalkeeper with the referee ignoring the obviously incorrect offside flag which went up as Sidley wrapped up the win. 

A tough afternoon to play free flowing football but the Blues will take the points and move on to focus on their final 2 league matches. Next week it is a cup semi final as Sidley travel to Robertsbridge United in the ESFL Premier Travel Challenge Cup. 

Sidley Team: Rogers, Walker, Scrace (Elphick), Funnell, Elliott-Noye, McEniry, Wells, Cornford, Ellis, Carey, Baldwin.

Sidley United 2 - 0 Battle Baptists - ESFL Premier Division - Saturday 2nd March 2019

For the second time this season goals from Zac McEniry and Sean Baldwin helped Sidley United to a 2 - 0 win over Battle Baptists on an afternoon where the title race was blown wide open.

Sidley gave a debut to Charlie Cornford and he twice went close to opening the scoring. Firstly a great Baldwin cross from the left saw Cornford head just over before an attempted Battle clearance cannoned back off him and struck the post. 

Battle had a good chance from a breakaway move but the final shot was wide of Joe Rogers' far post. 

But Sidley went in front on 27 minutes. A terrific corner from Gary Hempe was powerfully met and directed into the back of the net by McEniry to give Sidley the edge at the break. 

Kicking into the strong wind in the second half, the Blues may have felt that they were up against it. But they doubled the lead on 52 minutes as Rogers started an excellent move down the left which involved nice touches from Danny Ellis and Lee Carey which saw Baldwin finish past the goalkeeper from the left of the penalty area. 

With a two goal advantage Sidley looked to defend and not allow Battle back into the game. Despite facing a number of corners the Blues generally succeeded in snuffing out the threat from the visitors. 

The closest that Battle came was when a shot was deflected onto the outside of the post and smuggled behind for a corner. 

A terrific win for Sidley who had further reason to celebrate at the final whistle as news came through that league leaders Bexhill Town had slipped to a surprise defeat to St Leonards Social. Those results mean the Blues are joint top of the table with both sides having 3 matches remaining whilst Battle are 3 points further back with a game in hand. 

Sidley Team: Rogers, Walker, Hempe (Scrace), Copley (Funnell), Elliott-Noye, McEniry, Wells, Ellis, Cornford (Dadswell), Carey, Baldwin.

Wadhurst United 1 - 2 Sidley United - ESFL Premier Travel Challenge Cup Quarter Final - Saturday 23rd Februray 2019

Sidley United booked their place in the last four of this cup competition and a tie against league rivals Robertsbridge United thanks to victory at Division One promotion hopefuls Wadhurst United.

Wadhurst began the match with a direct style of play which forced Sidley to defend deep early on. However the Blues took the lead in the 19th minute as the referee spotted a shirt pull at a corner and awarded a penalty which Sean Baldwin cooly converted. 

The match continued with both sides battling for control but with few clear chances created. Towards the end of the first half the referee awarded Wadhurst an indirect free kick for the Sidley goalkeeper holding onto the ball longer than the allocated 6 seconds. Whilst unusual to see such a decision given, the free kick came to nothing as the Sidley wall did its job. 

In the second half Sidley had the advantage of the slope and used this to push Wadhurst back into their own half. On 57 minutes a goal mouth scrambled ended with Rosh Wells poking the ball home to double the Sidley lead.

On 75 minutes Wadhurst were awarded a penalty of their own despite Sidley appeals that the defender won the ball cleanly. But the penalty was scored and Wadhurst pushed late on to try and take the game into extra time. 

However Sidley held on to book their place in the semi finals where they will face Robertsbridge United. If they come through that tie then they will face either Sedlescombe Rangers or Rye Town in the final. 

Next week it is back to league action and a crucial match at home to Battle Baptists. 

Sidley Team: Langley-Fineing, Walker, Scrace (Hempe), Copley, Funnell (Cole), McEniry, Dadswell, Ellis (Elphick), Wells, Carey, Baldwin.

Sidley United vs Bexhill A.A.C - ESFL Premier Division - Saturday 16th February 2019

Match not played as Bexhill A.A.C unable to raise a side. Walkover win for Sidley United. 

Hawkhurst United 2 - 7 Sidley United - ESFL Premier Division - Saturday 19th January 2019

For the first time this season Sidley United went top of the ESFL table as Sean Baldwin struck a six goal salvo for the second season in a row. 

Dominant from the off, Blues looked like scoring every time they came forward and Baldwin grabbed his first with a left foot finish on 11 minutes. Rosh Wells added a second with a low drive from the edge of the area on 26 minutes. 

Baldwin made it 3 - 0 with an excellent finish on 29 minutes after a clever run from Arron Scrace but Hawkhurst got one back after a couple of deflections saw the ball land at the feet of the striker for a simple tap in. 

But undeterred Sidley came back at the hosts a and Baldwin grabbed two goals in the space of a minute; first beautifully controlling Lee Carey's cross with one foot before finishing with the other and then getting onto the end of a good through ball to finish low past the goalkeeper. 

At half time the game was effectively over but Sidley sensed the potential for more goals. Although the tempo was slightly reduced in the second half, Baldwin scored Sidley's sixth with a terrific left foot strike high into the top corner from around 20 yards out on 59 minutes. 

Carey hit the post before Baldwin then got another goal with a right foot shot which arrowed into the far corner of the net. 

Right at the end though a free kick given away was glanced home by Hawkhurst to slightly taint the afternoon but it didn't detract from a terrific attacking performance from the Blues. 

Sidley Team: Rogers, Scrace, Hempe, Copley (Cole), Funnell (Brockhurst), Elliott-Noye, Dadswell, Wells, Ellis (Saville), Carey, Baldwin. 

Sidley United vs St Leonards Social - ESFL Premier Division - Saturday 12th January 2019

Match not played as St Leonards Social unable to raise a side. Walkover win for Sidley United.

Sidley United 6 - 1 Northiam 75 - ESFL Premier Division - Saturday 5th January 2019

Sidley United recovered from conceding a shock early goal to record their biggest win of the season against Northiam 75 and move up to third in the table. 

It was not an ideal start though as the visitors took a fourth minute lead. A long ball forward appeared to strike the hand of Josh Elliott-Noye but as others stopped Jon James took aim and fired high past Joe Rogers in the Sidley goal. 

Sidley were level just 3 minutes later. A mix up between goalkeeper and defender allowed Sean Baldwin to put the ball into the empty net. Baldwin then put Blues in front on 20 minutes as he rounded the goalkeeper and slotted home. 

With Sidley dominating the game, Arron Scrace added a third goal on 40 minutes as a free kick was headed back across goal by Mark Funnell and Scrace poked the ball into the roof of the net from close range as Sidley took a commanding half time lead. 

The momentum was all with the home side and after the break Matt Dadswell struck his first goal of the season as he headed home a near post corner on 63 minutes. 

Dadswell would then notch his second of the game as he struck low past the goalkeeper from inside the penalty area on 73 minutes and Rosh Wells rounded off the scoring on 80 minutes with a terrific free kick from 25 yards which went right into the top corner of the net. 

A comfortable win in the end for Sidley who will hope to close the gap on the top two in the coming weeks of the season. 

Sidley Team: Rogers, Scrace, Hempe, Cole, Funnell, Elliott-Noye (Copley), Dadswell (Day), Wells, Ellis, L Carey, Baldwin (J Carey). 

Sidley United 2 - 0 Sedlescombe Rangers - ESFL Premier Division - Saturday 15th December 2018

Sidley United maintained their perfect home league record with a hard fought victory against Sedlescombe Rangers as they moved closer to the top two. 

With bitter wind and constant rain, the game was always going to be a battle with the conditions favouring the visitors in the first half. They were nearly gifted the lead though as a back pass to the Sidley goalkeeper presented the Rangers forward with a great chance but having rounded Langley-Fineing, the final effort was stabbed wide. 

That let off roused Sidley who had struggled to create many chances early on but they could have gone in front after Sean Baldwin did well on the left and cut the ball back to Lee Carey but a bobble meant his strike wasn't true and the ball looped wide. 

At half time the visitors had perhaps shaded the opening 45 minutes but in the second half it was Sidley who made the early running. They took the lead on 53 minutes as a Lee Carey corner from the left sailed over the goalkeeper and directly into the net. 

The lead was doubled just 3 minutes later. The ball was cleared to Danny Ellis who took a shot from 25 yards which flew over the goalkeeper and into the top of the net. 

Sedlescombe looked to threaten with some neat passing football but unlike last week they were unable to breach a Sidley defence which was much more resolute than in the previous week's cup defeat to the same opponents  

The Blues could have late on as the away goalkeeper twice denied Arron Scrace but this mattered little as Sidley saw out the game to move six points behind Battle Baptists and Bexhill Town with a game in hand. 

The league now breaks for the Christmas season with Sidley's next match against Northiam 75 on January 5th.

Sidley Team: Langley-Fineing, Elphick (Funnell), Hempe, Cole, Copley, Elliott-Noye, Wells (Day), Dadswell, Ellis, Carey, Baldwin (Scrace). 

Sedlescombe Rangers 5 - 2 Sidley United - Sussex FA Intermediate Cup Third Round - Saturday 8th December 2018

A dreadful first half hour cost Sidley United as they bowed out of a cup competition for the second time this season to Sedlescombe Rangers in an action packed match.

On a wet and windy afternoon Sedlescombe raced into a four goal lead. First Kasey Smith ran through to slot beyond Langley-Fineing after 6 minutes before a second was added when a cross from the right was flicked home by Ryan Edwards a few minutes later. A third soon followed as Mark Funnell turned the ball into his own net while attempting to clear a cross while the fourth came when a corner from the left was allowed to bounce and was headed home from almost on the goal-line by Luke Graham Davies.

However despite the awful start Sidley started to get a foothold in the game and Arron Scrace reduced the arrears as he beat the goalkeeper to the ball and lifted it over him and into the net to make it 4 - 1 on 37 minutes. Then just before half time Sedlescombe's Smith was shown a straight red card for a dangerous over-the-ball tackle.

Early in the second half Sidley looked to be back in the tie as Sean Baldwin scored a terrific volley which flew into the top corner. However a serious looking injury to a Sedlescombe player and a lengthy stoppage seemed to disrupt Sidley's rhythm.

The Blues thought they were back within a goal as Josh Elliott-Noye put the ball in from close range but the referee deemed that he had used his hand to push it over the line and ruled the goal out. Despite constant Sidley pressure and a number of corners, Sedlescombe caught them on the break and put the game beyond doubt with a fifth goal through Philip Hatch. 

A disappointing afternoon for Sidley who will hope to be more resolute when the two sides meet again next weekend in the league.

Sidley Team: Langley-Fineing, Walker, Scrace (Elphick), K Parsons (Cole), Copley, Funnell, Elliott-Noye, Wells, Ellis, Carey, Baldwin.

Icklesham Casuals 3 - 6 Sidley United (AET) - ESFL Premier Travel Challenge Cup Second Round - Saturday 24th November 2018

For the second time this month Sidley United came through extra time to win in the cup, this time seeing off Division One side Icklesham Casuals in a goal-laden extra period to progress to the Quarter Finals of the ESFL Premier Travel Challenge Cup. 

The first half was an even affair with both goalkeepers making decent early saves. Icklesham looked to play on the counter attack which caused the Blues some discomfort but at the other end Sidley could have done better with a few chances they created. 

Two minutes into the second half though Sidley were caught flat footed as Icklesham took the lead. A change of formation saw Sidley start to take control of the game and they levelled on 71 minutes when a corner was headed back across goal and Kingsley Parsons headed home. 

Lee Carey looked to have booked Sidley's place in the next round when he struck with 5 minutes to go but Icklesham equalised immediately as their striker ran through to score and force extra time. 

Five minutes into this Sidley retook the lead with the goal of the game as Arron Scrace pounced on a loose ball and drove a shot into the top corner of the net. Sean Baldwin got a fourth for the Blues just before the end of the first period as Sidley seemed to have pulled clear of their promotion chasing hosts. 

But Icklesham grabbed a third goal 2 minutes into the final 15 minutes. However this proved not to be decisive as Baldwin struck again a few minutes later and he wrapped up his hat trick in the final minutes to finally see off plucky Icklesham and book a place in the last eight. 

Next week it's back to league action and a crucial home game against league leaders Battle Baptists.

Sidley Team: Rogers, Elphick (Walker), Hempe, K Parsons, Funnell, Dadswell (Scrace), Elliott-Noye, Wells, Ellis, Carey, Baldwin. 

Bexhill A.A.C vs Sidley United - ESFL Premier Divison - Saturday 17th November 2018

Match not played as Bexhill A.A.C unable to raise a side. Walkover win for Sidley United.

Sidley United 3 - 1 West Chiltington (AET) - Sussex FA Intermediate Cup Second Round - Saturday 10th November 2018

Two strikes in extra time sent Sidley United through to the Third Round of the Sussex FA Intermediate Cup and a tie against league rivals Sedlescombe Rangers. 

A minutes silence to mark Remembrance Day preceded the game but the Blues began brightly, overrunning their opponents from West Sussex early on as they created several good chances which they were unable to convert. 

The half became rather stop start as it wore on but Sidley continued to enjoy the better of the play, forcing a number of corners as they pressured the visitors.

Goalless at half time, the early stages of the second half continued in the same vein and the few chances that West Chiltington did force were spurned by some wayward finishing. 

Finally though Sidley broke through as Lee Carey scored in the 78th minute. That seemed to be enough but in the first minute of stoppage time the visitors struck an equaliser to force the match into extra time. 

Sidley could have felt sorry for themselves but instead they set about reclaiming the lead. 5 minutes into the extra half hour an Adam Day free kick cannoned back off the crossbar and Josh Elliott-Noye headed home the rebound. 

The result was put beyond doubt 3 minutes into the second period of extra time. Sean Baldwin weaved his way past two defenders and laid the ball off for Carey to score his second goal of the game. 

The Blues will travel to Sedlescombe in the Third Round with one ESFL side guaranteed a place in the Quarter Finals. Next week though it's back to league action as Sidley make the short trip to Buxton Drive to take on Bexhill A.A.C. 

Sidley Team: Langley-Fineing, Elphick (Day), Cole (Scrace), McEniry, Copley, Funnell, Wells, Elliott-Noye, Ellis, Carey, Baldwin (Dadswell). 

Rye Town 1 - 4 Sidley United - ESFL Premier Division - Saturday 3rd November 2018

A Gary Hempe hat trick helped Sidley United record a fine win on the road as they beat Rye Town 4 - 1 for the second time this season.

The Blues made a fast start and took the lead after just 5 minutes. Kingsley Parsons got to the byline on the right hand side and crossed to the far post where Zac McEniry headed down for Sean Baldwin to fire home from close range.

Rye grew into the game and shaded the next 15 minutes, winning a number of free kicks in dangerous positions which ultimately came to nothing. But the home side would draw level from a set piece as a corner from the left was headed home by Barnaby Osborne on 28 minutes.

Sidley didn't let that goal rattle them though and, after Chris Copley had hit the crossbar with a header from a free kick, they retook the lead on 40 minutes. A neat move down the right evenutally saw the ball worked to Rosh Wells whose low shot was parried by the Rye goalkeeper and Hempe got to the loose ball first to slot home and restore the Blues' lead.

At half time the game was finely balanced but it was put to bed with two quick fire penalties in the second half. Firstly a free kick that pinballed around in the area was heading towards Lee Carey for a close range finish but he was brought down by a rash challenge and regular penalty taker Hempe stepped up to slot the ball low to the goalkeeper's left to increase Sidley's lead on 60 minutes.

And just 3 minutes later Sidley won another penalty as the ball bounced up and hit a Rye hand with the referee again pointing to the spot. The ever reliable Hempe this time went the other way to complete his hat-trick. Ironically 5 of Hempe's 6 goals this season have come against Rye including two penalties in the reverse fixture earlier in the season.

Rye frustrations grew and after a show of dissent towards the referee one of their players was sent to the newly introduced 'sin bin' - the first time that Sidley have experienced that this season - for 10 minutes. During that time Rye still looked to hit long balls forward and pressure the Sidley defence but the Blues back line dealt with the threat well and saw out an excellent win.

The Blues turn their attention to cup duties next weekend when they entertain West Sussex Premier League side West Chiltington in the second round of the Sussex FA Intermediate Cup. 

Sidley Team: Langley-Fineing, Elphick (Scrace), Hempe (Cole), McEniry, Copley (Dadswell), K Parsons, Elliott-Noye, Wells, Ellis, Carey, Baldwin.

Sidley United 3 - 1 Bexhill Town - ESFL Premier Division - Saturday 27th October 2018

A Lee Carey double helped Sidley United maintain their perfect home record in the league as they saw off local rivals Bexhill Town.

Having ended the 100% records of Hawkurst United and Battle Baptists earlier in the season, Bexhill were next to see their winning sequence ended by an excellent Sidley performance.

The Blues opted to play three centre backs and two full backs for this game. This counteracted the Bexhill tactic of looking to exploit the pace of Doni Dovla in the first half as the Blues dealt with the long balls forward with relative calm.

At the other end Sidley almost took the lead when Kingsley Parsons curled an effort which cannoned back off the crossbar. That was as close as either side came to breaking the deadlock in an even first half.

But after the break, as has often been the case this season, Sidley came out stronger than their opponents and they took the lead on 59 minutes. Carey's initial corner was cleared straight back to him on the left and his next cross into the area evaded everyone and nestled in the far corner.

Carey would double the lead on 72 minutes when another free kick seemed to deceive Bexhill goalkeeper Harry Killick and he palmed the shot straight to Carey who had a simple task to head home from six yards out.

Town were rattled and some frequent clashes between Parsons and Dovla saw bookings for both although the Town striker may consider himself fortunate not to see red for a swing out off the ball. But the football was all with Sidley and they added a third in stoppage time when the unmarked Zac McEniry headed home a corner from close range.

There was still time for Town to get on the scoresheet as with almost the last kick of the game a free kick slipped from the grasp of Blues stopper Josh Langley-Fineing and was followed up from a tight angle by Bill Trickett. However this was a minor frustration on an otherwise terrific afternoon for the Blues who were worthy winners and showed a great togetherness and determination to get the result.

Next week they will look to replicate the quality of their home performances on the road as they travel to Rye Town.

Sidley Team: Langley-Fineing, Walker, Copley, K Parsons (Funnell), McEniry, Hempe, Elliott-Noye, Wells (Dadswell), Ellis, Carey, Baldwin (Scrace).

Robertsbridge United 2 - 0 Sidley United - ESFL Premier Division - Saturday 20th October 2018

Robertsbridge Rec continues to prove to be an unhappy hunting ground for Sidley United as they slipped to another poor defeat there for the third season in a row.

The Blues enjoyed the better of the opening 10 minutes, creating a number of chances but were unable to convert them while Robertsbridge's early tactic was to play a long ball forward and turn the Sidley defence around.

And that tactic proved effective with two goals coming within minutes of each other as the Sidley defence were caught out on 16 and 18 minutes with the home side seeing their first two shots on goal finding the back of the net courtesy of Chris Phillips and Curtis Coombes.

Sidley tried to play their way back into the game but the remainder of the match followed a similar pattern; with Sidley too often having wild efforts or making poor choices when it came to the final ball.

The home side created little else and seemed content to defend well in the second half, which they did but they were certainly helped by a lack of understanding between the Sidley attackers as well as poor finishing which meant the only time the home goalkeeper had to really make a save was when his own man almost headed the ball past him.

A difficult result to take as once again Sidley were made to pay for a poor first half performance and a failure to be clinical in front of goal. Indeed the Blues have scored just once in the last three matches. They will hope for better on both fronts when they take on a Bexhill Town side which has won every game this season at Hooe Rec next week.

Sidley Team: Langley-Fineing, Walker, Hempe (Cochrane), Funnell, Cole, Wells, Carey (K Parsons), Ellis, Elphick, McEniry (Dadswell), Baldwin.

Sidley United 1 - 0 TD Shipley - Sussex FA Intermediate Cup First Round - Saturday 13th October 2018

Sidley United progressed to the Second round of the Sussex FA Intermediate Cup after seeing off West Sussex side TD Shipley thanks to Ashley Elphick's first half goal.

It was the visitors who produced the first good opportunity early on as they drove a shot across goal. But that would prove their most threatening moment and after that Sidley raised their game and started to pressure the Shipley defence. 

On 28 minutes the scoring was opened as Danny Ellis did well on the goal-line and rolled the ball across for Elphick to tap home from barely a yard out. 

Good chances continued to come Sidley's way with both Zac McEniry and Sean Baldwin unable to convert decent opportunities. 

The pattern continued in the second half as Sidley continued to create a number of chances but couldn't find the second goal that would have made the afternoon more comfortable and given a truer reflection of the contest. 

The game became a bit more physical and Rosh Wells had to receive treatment for a bloody nose as the visitors looked to try and compete but still chances came Sidley's way and on another day Baldwin may well have claimed a hat trick. 

In the end though the single goal proved to be enough with Shipley unable to seriously test the Blues defence. Sidley will face West Chiltington in the Second Round. 

Sidley Team: Langley-Fineing, Walker, Hempe  Funnell, Cole, Wells, Carey, Ellis, Elphick (Eldridge), McEniry (Day), Baldwin. 

Sidley United 0 - 2 Sedlescombe Rangers - Hastings FA Intermediate Cup - Saturday 6th October 2018

A lacklustre display saw Sidley United crash out of the Hastings FA Intermediate Cup at the hands of league rivals Sedlescombe Rangers.

The Blues gave a debut to goalkeeper Joshua Langley-Fineing and he made an excellent stop early on to deny the visitors the lead, tipping a volley onto the underside of the crossbar.

Sedlescombe were using the benefit of the wind to dictate most of the play but Sidley had a great opportunity to take the lead. Lee Carey did well to get away down the right and he fired a low ball in towards Zac McEniry but he fired over the crossbar from inside the penalty area.

The Blues were looking to work their way into the game but they fell behind on 25 minutes. Mark Funnell made a challenge from behind in the area and although there weren't many appeals the referee pointed to the spot. Ryan Edwards stepped up to send Langley-Fineining the wrong way and put Sedlescombe in front.

A half time change saw Ashley Elphick come on for the unwell Rosh Wells and Sidley looked to use the wind in their favour. However they found it hard to carve out chances against a stubborn Sedlescombe defence. McEniry and Carey went closest while a Josh Elliott-Noye header also went just over the bar.

At the other end, the game was effectively put out of reach after a defensive mix up. Funnell anticipated Langley-Fineing coming to collect the ball while the goalkeeper felt he would deal with it and this allowed Sedlescombe forward Jake Warner to nip in and pinch the ball, round the goalkeeper and roll the ball into the net for the visitors second goal on 70 minutes.

Sidley changed shape seeking to push more men up front to get back in the contest but it had the feel of one of those afternoons where nothing would fall for them. On the break the vistiors almost grabbed a third goal in the final moments but the crossbar came to Sidley's rescue.

On the whole Sidley cannot aruge with coming away from the game empty handed, as one chance of silverware evaporated. Next week it is another cup competition as the Blues welcome TD Shipley in the Sussex FA Intermediate Cup.

Sidley Team: Langley-Fineing, Walker, Hempe (Cochrane), Cole, Funnell, Elliott-Noye, Wells (Elphick), Carey, Scrace (Eldridge), McEniry, Baldwin.

Battle Baptists 0 - 2 Sidley United - ESFL Premier Division - Saturday 29th September 2018

Sidley United were responsible for ending another 100% record on Saturday as they brilliantly saw off league leaders Battle Baptists.

The Blues fielded Zac McEniry up front to act as a focal point and the tactic proved effective with McEniry often winning long balls forward and allowing others to link up with him. McEniry almost opened the scoring with a header but Battle goalkeeper Ryan Hunt did well to beat out his effort.

However despite Sidley enjoying more possession it was Battle who had the better chances in the first half as a good ball in from the right found Jamie Lindsay but his sliding effort was wide of the post while a Dean Boyd strike from distance just cleared the crossbar.

Kingsley Parsons picked up an injury and had to replaced just before the interval as a tight and competitive first half came to an end.

In the second half though, just as with the previous week's dispatching of Hawkhurst United, Sidley really picked up their game and they took the lead in the 62nd minute. Louis Walker did well to keep the ball alive down the right and when a half clearance fell to Baldwin in the area, he sidestepped his man and curled a left foot which rather went through Hunt and into the net for his first goal of the season.

One became two just four minutes later. Baldwin did terrifically well to win the ball high up the pitch and burst away from the defender and as Hunt came out to challenge him he poked the ball across goal to McEniry to smash the ball into the empty net from six yards out.

There was always the feeling that if Battle could get a way back into the game then the dynamic might change but Sidley defended resolutely with the home side unable to put any real pressure on Joe Rogers in the Sidley goal as their long unbeaten run at home came to an end.

A terrific all round performance and a win that brings Sidley up into contention with the leading sides in the Division.

Sidley Team: Rogers, Walker, Hempe (May), K Parsons (Dadswell), Cole, Funnell, Wells, Carey, Ellis, McEniry (Scrace), Baldwin. 

Sidley United 5 - 2 Hawkhurst United - ESFL Premier Division - Saturday 22nd September 2018

Sidley United showed great character as they hit back from going two goals behind to inflict a comprehensive first defeat of the season on Hawkhurst United.

It had looked as if another slow start would cost Sidley though as they fell behind for the third match in a row. Casey Ham struck a terrific free kick from 25 yards out into the net on 19 minutes although Sidley felt the free kick should have been taken from further back than it was.

One became two on 27 minutes as a poor headed clearance fell nicely for Leon Fisher and he rifled a strike high into Rogers' net to put Hawkhurst in control as Sidley struggled to string their passes together.

But the momentum shifted in the last 10 minutes of the half as Sidley forced a succession of corners and penned Hawkhurst back in their own half. Ash Elphick made some driving runs and appeared to be brought down in the area but the referee waved away the appeals. However in the first minute of stoppage time Elphick did win a penalty after being rashly brought down and the dependable Gary Hempe converted the spot kick to bring Sidley back into the game.

They continued that momentum in the second half and were soon level. A terrific piece of skill from Danny Ellis saw him beat two men on the left and he smashed home a powerful shot to draw Sidley level. Hawkhurst looked shell-shocked and Josh Elliott-Noye put Sidley in front on 57 minutes as he headed home a terrific Hempe free kick.

After that it was just a question of how many goals Sidley wanted to score. Mark Funnell was next on the scoresheet as he followed up to score when the away goalkeeper spilled a powerful strike on 67 minutes.

Full back Louis Walker added the fifth as he drilled home a strike with the aid of a deflection into the bottom corner on 73 minutes. After that Sidley laid siege to the Hawkhurst goal. Twice they hit the woodwork, Scrace somehow headed wide from a yard out and Sean Baldwin rolled an effort narrowly wide on his return from suspension as Sidley ran out comfortable winners in the end.

A terrific second half performance to turn the match around but the Blues will know they cannot afford to keep falling behind in matches.

Sidley Team: Rogers, Walker, Hempe (May), Copley (Funnell), K Parsons, Elliott-Noye, Wells, Elphick (Scrace), Carey, Ellis, Baldwin.

Bexhill Town 3 - 1 Sidley United - ESFL Premier Division - Saturday 15th September 2018

A frustrating afternoon at The Polegrove saw Sidley United slip to defeat to cross-town rivals Bexhill Town. 

After a scrappy opening 10 minutes the game settled into a pattern of play that was familiar throughout with Sidley dominating the ball and Bexhill sitting deep looking to exploit the pace of their forwards with balls over the top of the Blues defence. 

And despite the Blues enjoying the better of the play it was Town who struck first after 29 minutes as a free kick from wide on the right was not dealt with by the Blues defenders and was tucked home by Doni Dovla. 

One became two 8 minutes later as a corner was again not well defended allowing Kevin Barden to score. At the break the Blues went to 3 at the back and recent signing Zac McEniry came on to lead the line and this allowed them to practically set up camp in the Bexhill half but still they found it difficult to create chances against a determined Town defence. 

Finally though Sidley did reduce the arrears on 61 minutes after good work by Danny Ellis as he beat two men and laid the ball off to Josh Elliott-Noye to stroke home.

The Blues continued to push forward and forced a number of corners which saw the referee add on 8 minutes of stoppage time. And in the 5th minute of time added on Bexhill made sure of the win with a breakaway goal as a long clearance was latched onto and finished by Jay Edwards. 

A good win for Town but frustration for Sidley who suffered from defensive errors and a lack of cutting edge up front. They will need to sharpen up at both ends of the pitch when they take on a Hawkhurst United side that has 3 wins from 3 next weekend. 

Sidley Team: Rogers, Walker, Eldridge (Rea), Cole, Funnell, Elliott-Noye, Wells, Elphick (McEniry), Scrace, Ellis, Carey (Dadswell). 

Sidley United 4 - 1 Rye Town - ESFL Premier Division - Saturday 8th September 2018

Sidley United picked up their first points of the season with a splendid victory in a match which was almost a complete reversal of the previous week.

The Blues got off to a slow start though and fell behind after the referee spotted the arms of Josh Elliott-Noye wrapped around a Rye player in the area and pointed to the spot. Alfie Weller converted the penalty on 11 minutes.

But Sidley grew into the game and the excellent Lee Carey almost equalised when he took down a cross from the left and smashed a shot against the crossbar. He wasn't to be denied for long though as he capitalised on a mix up between goalkeeper and defender and poked the ball past both and into the net on 30 minutes.

At half time the game was delicately poised but Sidley were much the stronger team in the second half and won a penalty of their own on 53 minutes when a Rye defender blocked a cross with his arm. Gary Hempe stepped up and slotted home to put the Blues in front.

And Sidley stayed on the front foot as Ash Elphick added a third goal with a terrific lobbed effort which dropped right into the top corner on 71 minutes before Hempe scored another penalty just four minutes later after Elphick had been brought down by a rash challenge by the Rye goalkeeper.

At the other end of the pitch the Sidley defence had the odd moment of pressure to contend with as Rye hit the crossbar with a header in the final moments but they were generally assured and much more secure than last week.

A terrific team performance and a signal of intent against a side expected to be up among the top teams come the season's end.

Sidley Team: Rogers, Walker, Hempe (Ryan), Cole, Copley, Elliott-Noye, Wells, Elphick, Scrace (May), Carey (Dadswell), Ellis.

Northiam 75 4 - 1 Sidley United - ESFL Premier Division - Saturday 1st September 2018

A disappointing second half saw Sidley United slump to an opening day defeat to newly promoted to Northiam 75.

Northiam began strongly and had the better of the opening 20 minutes as Sidley struggled to get forward. However, they opened the scoring rather against the run of play as some good work from Doni Dovla allowed fellow debutant Danny Ellis to beat his man and fire low into the far corner on 23 minutes.

Sidley then used the momentum that the goal brought and went close to a second but the home goalkeeper did well to tip away Lee Carey's goalbound strike from the edge of the area before Dovla steered an effort from a corner over the crossbar from inside the six yard box.

Despite that pressure Northiam kept coming and got a deserved equaliser on 44 minutes as again they were afforded too much time and space to pick out the run by Oscar Garcia Cruz and he poked the ball past Joe Rogers to bring the scores level.

Early in the second half Northiam took the lead as some hesitant Sidley defending allowed Scott Embery to nip in and lift the ball over Rogers to put the home side in front.

Sidley responded by putting three men up front but they failed to halt Northiam's threat and Embery added a terrific third as he volleyed home a cross from the left on 65 minutes.

And Sidley's day was compounded when a corner was tucked away at the second attempt by Alan Johnson on 79 minutes to put some gloss on the final score.

A disappointing result and one that Sidley will be hoping to bounce back from immediately when they take on Rye Town next weekend.

Sidley Team: Rogers, Walker (Copley), Hempe, Funnell, K Parsons, Elliott-Noye, Wells, L Carey, Ellis (Scrace), Dovla, W Parsons (Elphick).


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