Sidley United lifted the Sussex Bluefin Junior Cup after winning an epic final in extra-time last night (Wednesday).
The Blues came from behind three times to beat fellow Macron East Sussex Football League Division One outfit Wadhurst United 6-4 at the Sussex FA headquarters in Lancing.
Sidley initially fell behind on eight minutes. A long ball over the top saw Sidley defenders appeal in vain for offside and as goalkeeper Joe Rogers came out, Lee Bates lifted the ball over him to give Wadhurst the lead.
Blues responded, though, on 12 minutes as Simon Corke’s shot deflected to Ashley Elphick, who finished coolly low into the far corner.
Sidley then began to get on top and had a number of chances blocked on the line by Wadhurst defenders and shots which went just wide.
But Wadhurst went back in front against the run of play on 39 minutes. A free kick into the box was not well defended and Ryan Bateman turned the ball in at the far post to give Wadhurst a 2-1 half time lead.
Blues levelled again on 48 minutes as Elphick’s low shot was parried and Arron Scrace turned home the rebound.
Wadhurst retook the lead on 69 minutes as a corner was powerfully headed into the net by John Penny only for Sidley to make it 3-3 two minutes later when the always dangerous Scrace headed home a cross from the right.
Although both teams had further chances, the game went to extra-time.
Sidley took the lead for the first time seven minutes into the additional period as a good move saw the ball squared to Gary Hempe, who fired low into the corner from the edge of the area.
Sidley looked strong in extra-time, but Wadhurst were always in the game. Blues gained a two-goal cushion on 114 minutes as substitute James Bailey netted with a fine strike from outside the area after good work by Scrace.
Back came Wadhurst, though, as Harry Bateman got past the Sidley defence to make it 5-4 with two minutes to go.
But less than a minute later Sidley were awarded a penalty as Scrace was felled in the box and Hempe sent the Wadhurst goalkeeper the wrong way to finally seal the win.
A first trophy for the Blues since they reformed in the East Sussex Football League two years ago and they had to show real character to earn it.
Sidley: Rogers, May, Hempe, Aston, Eldridge, Carey (Cochrane), Sanderson, Elphick (Bailey), Corke (Day), Scrace, Funnell.
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