Sidley concede four late goals to lose to Sandhurst – Hollington put five past Bexhill Town

The East Sussex Football League’s 2023-24 season began on Saturday – and there were contrasting first-day fortunes for Sidley United and Hollington United.
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Sidley Utd 2 Sandhurst 5

ESFL premier

There was an opening day defeat for the Blues who blew a lead in a calamitous 10 minute end to the game as Sandhurst came away from Hooe Rec with all three points.

Sidley United's 2023-24 squad have kicked off their ESFL premier division campaign | Picture: SUFCSidley United's 2023-24 squad have kicked off their ESFL premier division campaign | Picture: SUFC
Sidley United's 2023-24 squad have kicked off their ESFL premier division campaign | Picture: SUFC

Sidley had the worst possible start as Sandhurst struck after just 38 seconds when flimsy challenges led to a cross for Rob Briley who struck past Ritchie Gray,

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The Blues took some time to warm up but they levelled on 31 minutes as a long ball forward found Andy Atkin, who flicked the ball on to Archie Ball to finish past the Sandhurst goalkeeper.

Sidley took the lead on 66 minutes. With a Sandhurst defender late coming out, the Blues found themselves in front of goal and Zak Dangerfield beat the keeper to the bouncing ball to head into the net and give the home side the lead.

The game was in Sidley's hand. But rather than Sandhurst wrestling it away from them, it was more a case that Sidley threw it away.

On 80 minutes Sandhurst levelled when the ball was played across to Harry Morrell on the right with Gray choosing to come out of his goal to meet him; allowing Morrell a simple task to slot the ball past him and into the net.

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Worse was to come a few minutes later as Sidley failed to deal with a ball forward and James Found struck low past Gray to give the visitors the lead. And then as the game entered stoppage time, Sidley conceded another two poor goals through defensive errors.

This was a disappointing start to the season for the Blues who must now pick themselves up and look to pick up a result on Saturday as they travel to Bexhill AAC.

Sidley: Gray, May, Hempe, Burgeon, Geoghan, Carey, Witham, Bossom, Wade, Ball, Atkin. Subs: Bradbury, Dangerfield, Eldridge, Corke, Croucher.


Hollington Utd 5 Bexhill Town 0

ESFL premier

The Lions are back in the ESFL with a new-look team and new men in charge – but with the same ambition to do well.

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The gaffer included loanee Kian Moynes but with six players starting from last year's team and three on the bench, there were many new faces in the side.

Lewis Neech got the ball rolling, scoring after a great assist from William Spice. He went on to be MoM.

Casey Ham went from hero to zero, netting a penalty then seeing a red card for a late tackle.

Down to 10 men, the Lions brought on Robert Burns.

A great delivery from Taylor Beale saw Moynes net the third.

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In the second half the Lions were comfortable and late on, when the young Bexhill side become tired, Aaron Cochrane came on.

Another Beale delivery fell to veteran Dan Spice, who volleyed the fourth.

Boss Glenn Hine brought on Daniel Allen but the back four held well.

Beale with his third assist put one on a plate for Pat Willis to smash home at the back post.

It was a fine win and an an early clean sheet for Goalkeeper Sean Hankinson.

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