League leaders blast nine as cups get underway

Action from the Division Two match between St Leonards Social II and new leaders Icklesham Casuals at Tilekiln. Pictures by Simon Newstead

The first cup action of the Macron East Sussex Football League season took place last weekend.

There were no real surprises in the Premier Travel Challenge Cup, with the three Premier Division versus Division One ties all going the way of the higher grade clubs.

A midfield coming together in the Division Two match between St Leonards Social II and Icklesham Casuals.

Top flight leaders Hollington United continued their imperious form with a 9-0 win away to Little Common II. Doni Dovla, Luke Woodley and Curtis Beale scored two apiece, and Rhys Morfee, Andrew Corrigan and Jay Edwards got the others for Hollington, who will host Battle Baptists in the stand-out second round encounter.

Rye Town - the other team with a 100 percent record in the Premier Division - prevailed 5-3 away to The JC Tackleway thanks largely to a four-goal salvo from Richard Weller. Charlie Stevens grabbed Rye’s other goal, while Daniel Bone, Toby Shaw and Joseph Adams scored for Tackleway.

The form book was also adhered to as St Leonards Social triumphed 4-0 away to Wadhurst United. Jack Eliott, Reece Johnson, Brad Pitts and Sean Noble were on the scoresheet.

The one all-Premier Division game produced a 5-2 victory for Robertsbridge United away to Crowhurst. The goals of Guy Ballard (2), Curtis Coombes, Roberto Martellini and Philip Green won it for Robertsbridge, despite the efforts of Dominic Hayles and Jordan Turner for Crowhurst.

Icklesham Casuals forward David Pugh shoves a St Leonards Social II opponent.

Robertsbridge will be away to Herstmonceux in round two. Ceux received a walkover after fellow Division One side Rock-a-Nore failed to raise a team for Saturday’s first round encounter.

Four matches were played in round one of the Wisdens Sports Challenge Cup, for teams in divisions two and three.

The first of them was under floodlights at The Polegrove on Friday night when Bexhill United II lost 2-0 at home to Sovereign Saints in a meeting between two of the current top three in Division Two. James Chambers was among the scorers.

The following afternoon, another all-Division Two affair went all the way to penalties before Hollington United II eventually edged out Peche Hill Select, 3-2 on spot-kicks following a 3-3 draw. Graham Stovell netted a hat-trick for Hollington, and Nicky Stiles, Ryan Rankin and Perry McNamee scored one each for Peche Hill.

St Leonards Social II on the attack in the Tilekiln rain.

Punnetts Town, who have convincingly won all of their Division Three matches, triumphed 6-1 at home to a Wittersham side which has drawn all of its Division Two games. Tim Johnson plundered a hat-trick, and Patrick Johnson, Jack Divall and Kirk Ferguson chipped in with one apiece. Tom Barlow claimed Wittersham’s consolation.

The JC Tackleway II won 3-2 away to fellow Division Three side Sandhurst. The goals of Harry Blunden (2) and Elliot Milham for Tackleway just outdid the efforts of Jamie Young and Jago Stevens for Sandhurst.

Four games were also contested in round one of the Coopers Construction Challenge Cup, for teams in divisions four and five.

Probably the stand-out result was a 4-1 victory for unbeaten Division Five high-flyers Sedlescombe Rangers III at home to Division Four team West Hill United. Philip Hatch netted a hat-trick for Sedlescombe, whose other goal came from Stephen Davey. Tyler Smith scored West Hill’s consolation.

A St Leonards Social II player weighs up his options.

South Coast Athletico’s maiden cup contest ended in a 2-1 win at home to fellow Division Four outfit Burwash. Lee Finnigan’s double proved decisive.

The other all-Division Four affair resulted in a 3-2 victory for Cranbrook Town away to Parkfield.

Beckley Rangers won 3-1 away to Northiam 75 II in the battle between Division Five’s bottom two. Luke Townsend and Joe Maylam were among the scorers as Beckley celebrated their first victory since joining the league in the summer, while Joseph Powell netted for neighbours Northiam.

There was also plenty of league action across the six divisions on Saturday, including three games in the Premier Division.

Battle Baptists moved up to third on the back of a 4-2 win away to Hawkhurst United. Oliver Lawrence and Ben Marshall netted for 10-man Hawkhurst, but two goals apiece from Dean Boyd and Dale Vinall won it for Battle.

Bexhill Town made it back-to-back wins with a 3-0 victory at home to Ore Athletic. A David Chan hat-trick propelled Town into the top five.

The Icklesham Casuals full-back clears under pressure from a St Leonards Social II opponent.

A 95th minute goal from Sean Baldwin - his second of the game - enabled Sidley United to salvage a 3-3 draw at home to Sedlescombe Rangers. Dan Hill scored Sidley’s other goal, while Matthew Shaw, Jack Booth and Jon-jo Wright netted for Sedlescombe.

The two Division One matches were won by the current top two.

Hastings Rangers continue to lead the way, but were made to work for a fifth straight victory, eventually scraping home 5-4 in a nine-goal thriller away to Mountfield United.

Jack Fletcher, Tom Frazer Bates, Brett Moor, Michael Field and Alex Williams found the net for Rangers, while Jon Novis hit a hat-trick and yet ended up on the losing side. Matthew Crowhurst scored Mountfield’s other goal.

Bexhill AAC moved back into the top two courtesy of a 4-1 success away to Westfield II. Goals from Andy Atkin (2), a Darren Witham penalty and Aaron Tudor gave AAC their fourth win out of five. Alan Johnson converted a penalty for Westfield.

Icklesham Casuals took advantage of other sides being in cup action to go top of Division Two with a 3-0 win away to St Leonards Social II.

In the division’s other game, Mayfield jumped three places off the bottom by winning 4-2 away to Battle Baptists II - their first victory of the season. Giorgio Wingrove and Byron Lear netted for a Battle side which has replaced Mayfield at the foot of the standings.

With Punnetts Town in cup action, Sedlescombe Rangers II seized the chance to go top of Division Three.

And they did so in style with a 7-0 success at home to Hawkhurst United II. Liam Baker led the way with four goals, and there was one apiece for Kye Phillips, Chris Ford and Toby Hicks.

Hawkhurst are now bottom because previous basement dwellers Magham Down chalked up their first victory with a 2-1 win away to Pebsham Sibex. Nick Gamble scored for Sibex.

Catsfield went fifth courtesy of a terrific 6-0 win away to fourth-placed Victoria Baptists. Jacob Jones bagged four goals, and there was one apiece for Ben Newman and Adam Barham.

Three of the top four teams featured in the two Division Four fixtures.

Orington consolidated top spot with a 5-2 victory away to Ninfield VFC, whose goals were scored by Grant Wright and Jack Harris.

Bexhill AAC II remain two points off the pace in second after strikes by Max Thomson, Dominic Sinden and Jason Cochrane gave them a 3-1 success at home to third-placed Bexhill Broncos. Matthew Stephens scored for the Broncos.

Four matches were played in Division Five and leaders Hampden Park dropped their first points of the season as they were held to a 2-2 draw away to Robertsbridge United II. The goals of Joshua Goodsell and Neil Gofton for Robertsbridge were matched by a William Coles brace for Hampden Park.

Herstmonceux II rose to third after a Curtis Eyres hat-trick helped clinch a 5-1 win away to Icklesham Casuals II. Harry Glenister and Leonard Fuller also netted for Herstmonceux.

A 7-3 win at home to West Hill United II lifted Wittersham II to fourth. Stephen Cresswell, Georgie McDonagh and Mike Hawley netted for a West Hill side which had two players sent-off.

Battle Baptists III had five different scorers in a 5-2 success at home to AFC Hollington. Aaron Jamieson, Chris Wakeford, Jamie Crouch, Adam Thompsett and Marius Viorica struck for Battle, while James Collins, Michael Taylor and Harry Kidd hit the net for Hollington.

The heads go up at an Icklesham Casuals corner.

A St Leonards Social II player clips the ball down the line.

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