Morris fires Sidley into semi-final

SIDLEY United booked a place in the semi-finals of the John O'Hara League Challenge Cup with a 2-1 extra time win at East Grinstead Town.

But they had to ride their luck on occasion on Saturday against an out-of-luck home side.

Town fashioned a series of gilt-edged chances during the opening quarter of the regulation 90 minutes, but were thwarted by a frustrating combination of ill-fortune, desperate defending and goalkeeping, and poor finishing.

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Sidley made them pay with a 32nd minute opener totally against the run of play and, after Grinstead equalised just after the hour mark, a simply brilliant winner on the counter-attack mid-way through the second additional period which set up a semi-final showdown with neighbours Rye & Iden United on a date to be announced.

"It would be fair to say," Laskey confessed, "that we could have been out of the tie within the first 20 minutes. The first half we were all over the place defensively at times, but there were last ditch tackles and people getting whatever part of their body they could in the way. You could not fault the effort or determination."

Or even the fitness, because several players who flagged in the mud against Hassocks 12 days earlier seemed to have reaped the benefits of the demanding road run they underwent in training four days prior to the match.

Steve Morris, pushed up-front from midfield, was one of these. And he capped a decent all-round display with a purposeful run and unstoppable 112th minute finish after Dave Ward, who along with Lee Wood slotted in seamlessly following three months on the sidelines and even tapped home Morris' selfless square ball for the opener, had skilfully brought the ball out of defence.

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"I said to Steve before the game, 'you've got one last chance'," Laskey added. "He's got so much ability, but, in my opinion, he's been doing okay and that's about it. But Saturday I thought he was excellent."

As was United's response, not only to the initial non-stop barrage of pressure, but also to the 6-0 drubbing they suffered at Littlehampton Town the previous week.

They began to look after the ball so much better from the start of the second half onwards and, although East Grinstead still squandered some clear-cut chances, it was a far more even contest.