Dominic Clarke bagged a hat-trick against the club where he began the season as Rye United hammered Sidley United 6-0 tonight (Thursday).
It was the second time in 48 hours that Rye had scored six goals in a game and they are now the leading scorers in Sussex County Football League Division One with 116 for the season. What’s more, Rye are guaranteed at least a top four finish.
In a ‘home’ game played at Ringmer FC due to The Salts now being in the hands of Rye Cricket Club, Rye got off to the perfect start with two goals in the first nine minutes kicking down the notorious slope.
Sam Crabb volleyed the opener after a long throw was flicked on a couple of times and two minutes later Clarke opened his account when the ball dropped to him in the box from Olly Lockyer’s right wing free kick.
The rest of the first half was fairly even and the only genuine chance fell to Sidley, but Kevin Rose failed to beat Yarney Camara when one-on-one inside the box following a misjudgement by Ryan Alexander.
Andy Atkin saw a shot from outside the area pushed aside by Sidley goalkeeper Greg Nessling in the first minute after the break and Clarke headed onto the top of the crossbar from Anthony Storey’s resulting corner.
Rye effectively killed the game off in the 51st minute when Matt Maclean slipped the ball through for Clarke to shoot past Nessling. Sidley did have a decent five-minute spell after that, but they were over-run in the closing quarter.
Clarke completed his treble in the 68th minute with a free header from Lockyer’s right wing corner and Lockyer made it 5-0 just seven minutes later, latching onto Alexander’s long ball over the top from a quickly taken free kick before driving into the top corner at the near post.
Crabb saw a low shot well saved after beating two defenders on the right and Rye added a sixth in the 85th minute. Kasey Smith grabbed his first senior goal with a deflected effort that dribbled over the line after good work from Atkin and Crabb but not so good defending.
Rye had a glorious chance to add a seventh right at the end. Nessling dived in on Smith at the byline and conceded a penalty, but redeemed himself by saving Atkin’s spot-kick with his legs only for the referee to order a re-take.
Nessling also kept out the second attempt and Atkin hit the post with the rebound before the final whistle blew. Rye have now lost just one of their last 18 games, while 15th-placed Sidley have been beaten in their last four and scored just once.
Rye: Camara, Cooper, O’Callaghan, Kelly, Alexander, Clarke (Smith 76), Storey, Maclean (S. Johnson 61), Crabb, Atkin, Lockyer.
Sidley: Nessling, Willett, Hales (Brown 73), Munday, Cooper, Agutter, Boyd (A. Darby 57), M. Darby, Rose, Payne, Martin. Subs not used: Cruikshank, Taylor, Heritage.
Sussex Division One top five (played-points): 1 Peacehaven & Telscombe 40-93 (goal difference +81), 2 Redhill 40-87 (+51), 3 East Preston 40-85 (+50), 4 RYE UNITED 41-83 (+61), 5 Pagham 41-80 (+35).