Rye title hopes hit by shock loss

Westfield full-back Ross Williams challenges Hailsham Town striker Shane Saunders
Westfield full-back Ross Williams challenges Hailsham Town striker Shane Saunders

Rye United’s title hopes suffered a surprise setback with a 2-1 defeat at Shoreham on Saturday.

Bottom half outfit Shoreham took a first half lead through Gareth Green. Wes Tate equalised for Rye in the 78th minute, but Green won it for Shoreham nine minutes later.

Rye are six points clear of second-placed Lancing in a fascinating Sussex County Football League Division One title race, but fourth-placed Three Bridges are only nine points behind with five games in hand.

Sidley United were the only one of the area’s five Sussex County League clubs to avoid defeat as they picked up a 1-1 draw at Horsham YMCA. Casey Ham gave Sidley a half time lead, but Chris Gould was sent-off in the second half.

Westfield threatened to pull off a surprise at home to Division Two high-flyers Hailsham Town when Gordon Cuddington put them ahead two minutes into the second half.

But a brave effort ultimately counted for nothing as Hailsham struck twice in the closing quarter. Steve Dallaway’s 89th minute winner was particularly cruel on a Westfield side which put in a brave effort.

Elsewhere in Division Two, Little Common went down 4-0 at runaway leaders East Preston, while Bexhill United were hammered 6-0 away to Littlehampton Town. See Friday’s Observers for full reports on each game.

Standings (played-points) - Division 1: 1 RYE UNITED 27-59, 2 Lancing 26-53, 3 Pagham 25-52, 4 Three Bridges 22-50, 5 Hassocks 27-48, 6 Peacehaven & Telscombe 27-45, 7 Redhill 23-43, 8 Lingfield 24-41, 9 AFC Uckfield 26-39, 10 Crowborough Athletic 29-37, 11 SIDLEY UNITED 28-37, 12 East Grinstead Town 30-36, 13 Selsey 24-31, 14 Horsham YMCA 27-30, 15 Shoreham 26-27, 16 Arundel 26-27, 17 Ringmer 26-25, 18 Worthing United 24-24, 19 St Francis Rangers 29-15, 20 Chichester City 22-8.

Division 2: 1 East Preston 24-65, 2 Hailsham Town 21-50, 3 Dorking Wanderers 21-43, 4 Eastbourne United AFC 25-40, 5 Littlehampton Town 22-38, 6 Mile Oak 26-36, 7 Storrington 24-35, 8 Southwick 23-35, 9 Wick 22-29, 10 Rustington 24-29, 11 BEXHILL UNITED 23-27, 12 Steyning Town 25-26, 13 Loxwood 21-25, 14 LITTLE COMMON 24-23, 15 WESTFIELD 22-20, 16 Oakwood 23-20, 17 Seaford Town 21-19, 18 Midhurst & Easebourne 21-14.