Stringers lose out in entertaining clash

SIDLEY UNITED 2, HAILSHAM TOWN 1

SIDLEY United came from behind to record a hard-fought victory in a closely-contested game on Tuesday night.

Goals from Danny Spice and Sean Kelly ensured the Blues won a Sussex County Football League Division One clash which could have gone either way.

Although a bit of quality was sometimes lacking, there was no shortage of endeavour from either side and both tried to play football despite the very heavy surface. It all made for an entertaining encounter and predicting a winner was always difficult.

Hailsham drew first blood in the fifth minute. Dean Stevens’ shot from distance ricocheted kindly for Shane Saunders to slot past Gavin Bourne as the offside flag stayed down.

Sidley were level in bizarre fashion five minutes later. The usually dependable Hailsham goalkeeper Russell Tanner could only punch Jason Taylor’s corner straight up in the air and the ball rebounded into the net off Spice’s back.

Spice went close from another left wing corner by Taylor, while at the other end, Jamie Salvidge should have done better with a header after Sidley were caught napping at a short corner as the first half rightly ended level.

There were more chances in the second half and at both ends too. Paul Richardson calmly cleared off the Hailsham line from Kevin Barden and for the visitors Jamie Salvidge flashed a dangerous ball across goal which only needed a touch.

Sidley grabbed their winner in the 66th minute. Taylor somehow retained possession on the right despite laying on the floor and the impressive Barden drove into the box before playing a lovely ball across goal for Kelly to apply a simple finish.

An Ashley Jarvis effort went agonisingly past the post after a nice build-up involving Saunders, Salvidge and Simon Catt, while Bourne got an important touch to Craig Ottley’s right wing free kick with Saunders waiting to pounce.

Hailsham (4-4-2): Tanner; Lewis (Williams 75), Richardson, Barry, Ottley; Catt, Stevens (Schaaf 78), A. Jarvis, T. Jarvis (Skan 90+3); Saunders, Salvidge.