Ward's wonder goal not enough

ST LEONARDS 3; SIDLEY UNITED 2 A WONDER goal by Dave Ward was not enough to save Sidley United from going out of the Hastings Senior Cup first round on Monday.

United had gone 2-0 down in the first half, but hit back in the second, first through Kevin Rose and then through one of the goals of the season by Ward 12 minutes from time which made the scores level. He picked the ball up 30 yards from goal and unleashed a shot which rattled off the bar and into the net.

The goal looked to be taking the game into extra time before Kym Monroe's solo effort settled matters for the home side on 86 minutes.

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Sidley were up against a team in a midst of a crisis and looking to bounce back after the resignation of their manager Glyn White just two days before.

Despite the defeat, joint-manager Peter Heritage was encouraged by what he saw. "We gave it a real good go and I think if it had gone to extra time we would have won it", he said.

United started the game at breakneck speed as they piled on the pressure in a bid to add more misery to the homes side's recent woes. Chris Copley was brought down in the home penalty area by Monroe in the 8th minute to what looked like a stonewall penalty. But the man in black disagreed much to the annoyance of the vociferous away support.

It got worse for The Blues when they found themselves two goals behind after 32 minutes. The first came from a short corner on 29 minutes which former Sidley striker Peter Baker whipped in at the near post for Andy Johnson to nod past Jon Gardner.

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And then just three minutes later the home side doubled their lead when Baker punished his old club with a free-kick which cruelly deflected off Ward and past the hapless Gardner who was left rooted to the spot.

It was a different story after the break as the visitors kept up the fast and furious tempo in search of a break through. It came on 71 minutes when Rose beat the offside trap to shoot past the onrushing Saints keeper Peter Newstead.

Ward's special effort 7 minutes later set up a rousing finish as the game looked destined for extra time. But Monroe decided otherwise and finished a brilliant mazy 30 yard run with a cool finish past Gardner to leave a harsh ending to a brave Sidley performance.

Sidley: Gardner, Morris, Eldridge, Carey, Wood (Dadswell), Copley, Day, Ward, Rose, Funnell (Heritage), Spreafico (Balch).

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l United take on Redhill at Gullivers in Sussex County Division One tomorrow (Saturday) before another home game against Hassocks on Tuesday, kick off 7.45pm.

Lee Wood is the only doubt with a neck injury.