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Hailsham United JFC U14 Colts 2 Hastings United Youth 5

HAILSHAM were second best in this seven-goal thriller. They started slowly and were immediately put onto the back-foot, when a clumsy challenge on the edge of the home team’s box, was rifled into the net. They did not respond to the early setback and failed to find their normal rhythm, until a tactical change by the coach released Jake Packham to terrorise Hastings down their left flank. Despite this lift, the Colts seemed unable to recapture their normal fluency and predatory instincts in front of goal, spurning chance after chance. Not being so affected, Hastings continued to take the chances offered to them, dispatching goals from a corner, another free-kick and with a ‘shoot-on-sight’ approach, were quickly four up. After the break Hailsham were back to their old selves shooting at will and hitting everything bar the net! Hastings were totally dominated by the pace of Packham who soon rasped through the defence and blasted the ball into the net. The onslaught continued but the Hastings goalie wasn’t to be beaten. Hailsham pressed on and a cleverly worked corner saw the ball played out to Joe Scott who floated it into the path of Ollie Payne who tapped it home. But it wasn’t to be Hailsham’s day.

Hailsham United JFC U14 Juniors 3 Ridgewaye Ravens 4

HAILSHAM threw this game away in a mad 15-minute spell. A composed and confident opening half saw them play some neat and decisive football. Superb chances were being created throughout the team and with Josh Higgs and Oli Taylor firing in excellent crosses from both flanks, a goal apiece from strikers Adam Pye and James Hunt were just rewards for Hailsham as they took a two-goal lead into the break. But within 15 minutes of the restart Hailsham had thrown away all their hard work. A quickly-taken Hailsham free kick just outside their own box went straight to Ridgewaye, who duly scored. And within minutes two needless cheap fouls were conceded in dangerous positions, both punished for maximum effect.The game was now slipping away from the hosts and a well-worked fourth from the visitors all but put the result beyond doubt. With 20 minutes left, Hailsham dusted themselves down and again began to play, and Oli Taylor that struck the top of the bar before, with five minutes to go, Hailsham’s MoM Pye converted a corner to reduce the deficit to just one goal, setting up a frantic finale. But there was no happy ending as Hailsham lost for the first time this season.

South Malling Wanderers U10s 3 Saltdean United U10s 2

SOUTH Malling Wanderers and Saltdean United treated those watching to two goal-filled games on Sunday.

In game one, SMW put sustained pressure on the Saltdean United defence for the first 10 minutes. That paid off when Jay Pullen and Harrison Ovenden created a gap between the defenders and pushed the ball through to Jake Tomsett, who poked it past Saltdean’s keeper. Saltdean fought back and levelled the scores before half time. SMW regained their lead just 15 seconds into the second half when Jack Moody’s incisive pass gave Pullen a clear shot. SMW defender Jack O’Connell had the next shot, forcing a spectacular save, but Saltdean’s striker soon bagged another equaliser. Their celebrations were cut short by man of the match Pullen, who put SMW back in front. Strong defensive work from Ben Johnson and two crucial saves from Zachary Brooks in the SMW goal ensured the home team held on to their hard-won lead.

SMW: Zachary Brooks, Jack O’Connell (c), Ben Johnson, Jack Moody, Harrison Ovenden, Jay Pullen, Jake Tomsett

South Malling Wanderers U10s 2 Saltdean United U10s 4

SMW created numerous chances throughout the second game. Creative build-ups between Lewis Finch, Josh Harris and Toby Goldstraw ended in a number of near-misses. The pressure imposed on Saltdean’s goal left too much space behind SMW’s midfield, and three successful counter-attacks left the SMW defence stranded and facing a three-goal deficit at half time. SMW rallied in the second half, and strong tackling and dogged determination earned midfielder James Norris the man of the match award. Saltdean poked a fourth goal home with ten minutes to go, but SMW showed their character with a fightback that produced a blistering goal from Ben Johnson, fully deserving of his exuberant celebration. Another cool finish by Jake Tomsett and a number of further chances left SMW looking like they could pull level in the last few minutes, but the final whistle left them disappointed.

SMW: Jake Tomsett, Toby Goldstraw, James Norris, Josh Harris (c), Zachary Brooks, Lewis Finch, Ben Johnson.