Westfield went into the match missing five key players, but did manage to start the game brightly enough.
Ringmer soon began to exert their influence however and as the half wore on they missed a number of gilt-edged chances. Ringmer could have been a couple of goals up by the time they won a penalty. Westfield goalkeeper Joshua Blanche bought down a Ringmer forward, an easy decision for the referee. Blanche redeemed himself however with a great save from the resulting penalty.
Ringmer were punished soon after, Josh Pickering calmly dispatching Westfield’s penalty after he was bought down in the Ringmer box.
Westfield’s goalkeeper Blanche went on to make a number of fantastic further saves to deny Ringmer an equaliser.
Half time came and Westfield knew they needed to change things. Ringmer however came out with the same energy and quality in he second half and scored two goals to deny Westfield any opening day points.
Westfield chairman Jack Stapley saw enough to feel optimistic for the season ahead. “The commitment and desire was clear to see and unquestionable, but unfortunately that little bit of quality wasn’t there. Our goalkeeper was outstanding and Josh Pickering scored on his debut. Hopefully as we get players back from injury and good numbers to training, we will see the positive results come in."
Westfield: Blanche, May Dicken Durrant Maclean, Ferguson Farrance Woodley, Davies Paine Pickering.
Holland Sports 0 Sidley United 3 - MSFL Premier Division
Sidley United kicked off the new MSFL season with win away to newly-promoted Holland Sports.
The Blues fielded a number of new signings and began with positivity, controlling possession and pressing the home side. However it was at the other end that the first flashpoint occurred as on 12 minutes Sidley won the ball back in their own third before Holland Sports' George Smith was judged to have committed dangerous play against a Blues player, earning himself a straight red card in the process.
This would strengthen Sidley's control of the game, even though one of the new men Nathan Crabb was forced off with a knock, but it was the home side who had a glorious chance to strike the first blow when they were awarded a controversial penalty on 26 minutes when Phil Hawkins was adjudged to have fouled a Sports player despite clearly punching the ball away before they collided. However Sidley were reprieved when the resulting spot kick was steered wide of the post.
The home side had to change their goalkeeper, who picked up an injury, with a defender taking over between the sticks before Sidley broke through on 38 minutes. Charlie Cornford did well to beat his man and get to the left hand byline before rolling the ball across for Paul Rogers to turn home from close range.
A goal and a man up at the break, Sidley would strengthen their grip on the game just two minutes into the second half when a corner found Sam Crabb unmarked to turn the ball home.
Crabb would then go on to hit the woodwork twice more before Sidley finally put the game to bed when Rogers finished from outside the area on 81 minutes. A good late save by Hawkins ensured the Blues kept a clean sheet and stated the new campaign in perfect fashion. The Sidley Man of the Match was Louis Walker.
The Blues travel to Eastbourne Rangers next Saturday.
Sidley: Hawkins, S Crabb, McCue, Walker, Elliott-Noye, Ellis, Carey, Baldwin, Cumming-Bart, N Crabb, Rogers. Subs: Cornford, Foster, Elphick.