Leaders strike late to deny unbeaten rivals
It was honours even between the last two unbeaten sides in the Macron East Sussex Football League Premier Division.
Top-of-the-table and reigning champions Hollington United saw their six-match winning start to the league season come to an end with a 1-1 draw at home to Rye Town.
In fact, Hollington required a dramatic last gasp equaliser from Shaun Loft to remain undefeated after Richard Weller had given last term’s Division One winners Rye a 79th minute lead. Rye are five points behind Hollington with a game in hand.
Second-placed Battle Baptists went level on points with Hollington, albeit having played an extra match, courtesy of a 4-2 win away to Crowhurst.
Karl Tomlin and Tom Andrew gave the Crows a 2-1 first half lead, but strikes by Thomas Cann, Glen Carrick, Dean Boyd and Trystan Mayhew secured Battle’s fifth come-from-behind victory of the season.
Bexhill Town climbed into the top half via a good 4-2 win away to Hawkhurst United. Kingsley Parsons, Zack McEniry, Billy Trickett and Michael Hughes were on the scoresheet for Bexhill, while Ben Marshall and Daniel McGahan retaliated.
Robertsbridge United rose to sixth with a 1-0 win at home to Sidley United. Chris Phillips scored the all-important goal.
Sedlescombe Rangers went seventh thanks to a 4-1 success at home to Ore Athletic, whose consolation was netted by Luke Towner. The goals of Ryan Edwards (2), Matthew Shaw and Dominic Bristow won it for Sedlescombe.
It’s all change at the summit of Division One after the top two heading into the weekend both failed to win.
Bexhill AAC went from third to first following a 10-2 victory away to Rock-a-Nore. Goals from Andy Atkin (2), Dom Sinden (2), Craig Ray (2), Matt Brolly, Aaron Tudor, Darren Witham and Ashley Wiggins did the damage for AAC. Dean Phillips scored both Rock-a-Nore goals.
Hastings Rangers dropped to second - behind AAC on goal difference - after losing 2-1 at home to fourth-placed The JC Tackleway. Strikes by Toby Payne and Joseph Adams gave Tackleway the points against a Rangers side whose goal was scored by Steven Payne.
Northiam 75 - the second tier’s only unbeaten side - are a point behind the top two with a game in hand following a remarkable 6-6 draw at home to Little Common II.
Jared Lusted scored four times for Common, who came from 5-1 down to lead 6-5 before conceding a late equaliser. Common’s other goals were netted by Conor Chilton and Reece Powell, while Stephen Housago (2), Scott Embery (2), James Fielding and Nathan Clemans struck for Northiam.
Westfield II won 5-1 away to Herstmonceux to move into the top half. Billy-Jo Driver (2), George Driver, Michael Cook and an own goal gave Westfield the points against a Herstmonceux side which replied through Toby Guest.
There was little change at the top of Division Two as the leading four teams all won.
Icklesham Casuals triumphed 5-1 at home to Hollington United II to stay two points clear at the summit. Charlie Cornford struck a hat-trick and David Pugh scored twice for Icklesham, while Daniel Andrews claimed Hollington’s goal.
Second-placed Sovereign Saints, who have a game in hand, kept pace with a 5-0 victory at home to Battle Baptists II. George Sambrook (2), Jack Griffin, Thomas Wilding and Callam Jones got the goals.
Third-placed Bexhill United II prevailed 1-0 at home to Peche Hill Select to stay five points behind Saints having played a match less. Ben Packer grabbed the only goal.
Fourth-placed St Leonards Social II trail Bexhill on goal difference following their 3-1 success at home to Mayfield. Ashley McCann (2) and Mark Larkin were on target for Social, while Chaz Creasey replied.
Wittersham picked up their first win - and moved off the bottom of the table in the process - without even kicking a ball as scheduled hosts Bexhill Rovers were unable to field a team.
Division Three leaders Sedlescombe Rangers II were held to a 2-2 draw away to The JC Tackleway II. Terry Robinson bagged a brace for seventh-placed Tackleway, while Gary Underhill and Jamie Smith netted for Sedlescombe.
Second-placed Punnetts Town closed to within two points of Sedlescombe having played three fewer matches following a 7-1 success at home to fourth-placed Sandhurst. William Mantle nabbed Sandhurst’s consolation.
Catsfield strengthened their hold on third place with a 3-1 win at home to fifth-placed Victoria Baptists. Ben Newman, Harry Atkins and Jacob Jones scored for Catsfield, and Patrick Ighavvongbe for the Baptists.
Pebsham Sibex achieved the biggest winning margin of the day across the six divisions with a 9-0 triumph at home to Hawkhurst United II. Chris Jones plundered five goals, Jared Beaumont bagged a brace, and there was one apiece for Nick Gamble and Charlie Sellens.
Magham Down were also in freescoring form, winning 6-2 at home to Ticehurst. Jake Barker helped himself to a hat-trick, Jamie Bundy bagged a brace and Jamie Cherryman got the other for Magham against a Ticehurst team for whom Ben Turk struck twice.
Bexhill AAC II went top of Division Four after scheduled visitors Burwash were unable to raise a side.
Previous pacesetters Orington are now two points behind AAC with a game in hand after losing 2-1 at home to Ninfield VFC.
Strikes from Kenny Davison Mitchell and Danny Love earned a great win for Ninfield against an Orington side whose goal was scored by Aaron Lillycrop.
Goals from James Walker (2) and Daniel Wilkes couldn’t save West Hill United from a 6-3 loss at home to fifth-placed Sovereign Saints II.
Parkfield won 6-2 at home to Cranbrook Town to move into the top six.
The top three in Division Five all won so it’s as you were at the head of the standings.
Table-topping Sedlescombe Rangers III made it eight wins out of eight with a 6-1 success at home to Icklesham Casuals II. Ryan Caister (2), Thomas Ellis, Edward Manford Keen, Ben Gardner and Stephen Davey were the men on the mark for Sedlescombe. Martin Tytherleigh responded for Icklesham.
Hampden Park remain two points behind Sedlescombe in second place, but were made to work for a 2-1 victory at home to Herstmonceux II. Goals from Chris Puttick and Lewis Semmens gave unbeaten Hampden Park the points despite Mark Stillwell’s goal for Herstmonceux.
Two goals apiece from Robert Cauvain and Jason Marsh, and one from Jordan Gray, fired third-placed Robertsbridge United II to a 5-0 win away to AFC Hollington.
A Sam Garner hat-trick helped fire Wittersham II to a 5-3 success at home to Northiam 75 II - and with it a place in the top four. Adam Page and Dean King also scored for Wittersham, while Tom Powell, Fin Thompson and Brendon Doughty found the net for Northiam.
West Hill United II went sixth on the back of a 4-2 victory away to Beckley Rangers, whose scorers were Matthew Rogers and Sam Roberts.