Dean means business to help Sids get better of Barnham

Sidlesham extended their lead at the top of Sussex League division three with a hard-fought 2-1 win over Barnham.

The home side needed a late Dean Pratt goal to win the game as both sides displayed plenty of good attacking football.

Club secretary and treasurer Tony Rowland felt Sidlesham were well worth the three points.

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“I thought we created enough chances in the first half to have settled the game. Credit to Barnham for playing so well, but I think we deserved the win,” he said.

Sidlesham started brightly and took the lead in the seventh minute, striker Kieran Hartley poking in from close range after a mistake from the goalkeeper.

The skilful striker caused problems for Barnham all game as their defence struggled to deal with his pace and trickery, but he was denied a second by several great saves from the away goalkeeper.

It was a full-blooded game as players from both sides put in strong tackles, while the referee missed some late challenges, which angered the managers and coaches of both teams.

The defences stayed solid and the half finished 1-0.

The game quietened down at the start of the second half as neither could create a clear-cut chance despite plenty of passing and movement.

The second half finally got going in the last 15 minutes as the teams looked to finish the game strongly and Barnham equalised in the 78th minute after a poor mistake from Lee Arnell.

The lead did not last long as Pratt scored the winner ten minutes later after great build-up play, the ball was pulled back to Pratt and he made no mistake with the finish, firing past the keeper into the top corner.

Barnham desperately looked for an equaliser but Sidlesham’s solid defence kept them out.

Rowland predicted a successful season for the league leaders and said: “If we can carry on playing like I believe we can achieve promotion, hopefully as champions.”

Sidlesham’s next fixture is at home to TD Shipley this Saturday.

SIDS: Arnell, Millins, Carrigher, Brown, Grantham, Whitmore, Low, Hounsome, Barnes, Hartley, Phillips, Subs: Jones, Newman, Platt, Bassil.

There was a minute’s silence for late Sids president Cyril Cooper, who died last week. He had been with the club for more than 75 years as a player, committee member, chairman and, for the last 27 years, president.