Sunday, 9 August 2015

Sidley United 2 v 1 Westfield II

Wednesday 5th August 2015
Pre-season Friendly
Recreation Ground, Hooe
Admission and Programme: None
Attendance: 18 (head count)
Match Rating: 3

I had no intention of taking in a game this evening as I left work. However, a quick browse through my Twitter feed whilst waiting at a level crossing alerted me to a game on my way home less than an hour before kick off, and so I diverted slightly to visit somewhere with as basic facilities as they get, but at a lovely village setting on a summer's evening.

I had already visited the Hooe Recreation Ground a couple of times previously. It is still rather sad to watch Sidley United play at such a humble location, in the second tier of the East Sussex League, while their previous ground, The Gullivers, continues to rot and be vandalised. After having the rug pulled from underneath them a couple of seasons ago whilst in the Sussex League Division One, they finished mid table in Division One of the East Sussex League, and at the moment, a return to the Southern Combination League, as it is now called, seems a very distant prospect indeed. Westfield II play in the Southern Combination League Reserve East Division.

On a warm but generally very overcast early evening, Westfield II started the stronger, and they took the lead with ten minutes gone, albeit that they were somewhat gifted the goal. The ball was floated high into the area and a reflex action from a Sidley defender saw the ball loop of his head, over his own keeper and into the net. Gradually Sidley came more into the game and deserved their equaliser on the stroke of half time. A free kick was played into the box, and Mark Funnell took a touch before firing a mishit shot into the top corner.

The second half continued evenly, with the multiple substitution having an impact on the flow of play, but Sidley took the lead on 62 minutes. Aaron Cochrane – not the fittest or slimmest player there has ever been but was a class apart in terms of his vision and accuracy of passes – bent a lovely ball from a free kick to leave Ryan Rankin with an easy free header from which he planted the ball into the net. Sidley had the best chances to score throughout the rest of the game, but overall both teams will be pleased with a good workout against good opposition.

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