Baptists win again to beat drop

Battle Baptists have completed a superb late season rally to avoid relegation from the Macron East Sussex Football League Premier Division.

Monday, 13th April 2015, 7:00 am
Action from Battle Baptists' 1-0 win over Iden on Saturday. Picture by Simon Newstead (SUS-151104-212950002)

Baptists made certain of retaining their top flight status with a 1-0 win at home to Iden on Saturday - their third consecutive victory and clean sheet.

Adam Johnson’s second half goal was actually enough to move Battle up to fourth-from-bottom, and consign Ninfield United and Robertsbridge United to the two relegation places.

Rock-a-Nore dropped to third-from-bottom after ending their season with a 3-1 defeat away to a Hollington United side which is now certain to finish second.

Bexhill AAC’s hopes of promotion from Division One suffered a major blow with a 4-2 defeat against neighbours Sidley United.

Lee Roberts put Bexhill ahead after 10 minutes only for James Bailey to level 15 minutes later. Bexhill had a player sent-off just after the half-hour and Sidley got their noses in front through George Carroll at the start of the second half.

Although Max Thompson got Bexhill back to 2-2 in the 69th minute, Mark Funnell put Sidley ahead again four minutes later and Aaron Cochrane sealed their fifth successive win 15 minutes later.

Bottom-of-the-table Icklesham Casuals ended their campaign with a 5-1 loss at home to mid-table Wadhurst United, while second-bottom Sandhurst - who are also relegated - went down 3-0 at home to Ticehurst. Darren Nicol, Rob Guile and Liam Bull scored the goals.

The two contenders for the runners-up spot in Division Two went head-to-head and it was JC Tackleway who came out on top with a 2-1 success at home to Old Hastonians. Goals from Josh Eaton and Charlie Cornford won it for Tackleway, while Will Cullen netted for Hastonians.

Tackleway actually dropped a place to fourth despite that victory because Crowhurst moved above them on goal difference courtesy of a crushing 8-1 win over Pebsham Sibex.

Stephen Greenfield plundered a hat-trick, Nick Walker bagged a brace, and there was one apiece for Gary Croft, Jordan Turner and Scott Bierton as Crowhurst ended their season in style. Dan Burt scored the consolation for a Sibex side which is certain to finish second-from-bottom.

Third-bottom Catsfield completed their programme with a 4-3 success away to mid-table Herstmonceux. Toby Jones (2) and Thomas Budd were on target for Herstmonceux.

Sovereign Saints clinched the Division Three title via a 4-0 win away to closest rivals AFC Hastings, who require four points from their final two games to tie up second place.

Bexhill AAC II will finish runners-up in Division Four on the back of a 2-0 victory at home to third-placed neighbours Bexhill United III. Wayne Jackson and the prolific Doni Dovla scored the all-important goals.

Little Common III need four points from their last two fixtures - both of which are against the top two - to move up to third after having to settle for a 1-1 draw away to St Leonards Social II. Connor Jackson scored for Common in their sixth draw of the season - the most of any club in the entire league.

There were again plenty of matches in Division Five and runaway leaders Mayfield recovered from their first league defeat of the season on Easter Monday by picking up all six points on offer in their double header against Hailsham Athletico. Mayfield triumphed 2-1 and 8-0 in the two games.

Second-placed Sedlescombe Rangers II also won 8-0, away to bottom-of-the-table Magham Down. Gary Underhill led the way with a hat-trick, while Graham Stovell, Toby Hicks, Lex Russell, Rhys Warren and Kieron Booker chipped in with one apiece.

Third-placed Grasshoppers Old Boys were beaten 3-2 by second-bottom Parkfield in the Eastbourne derby, but fourth-placed Battle Baptists II couldn’t take full advantage as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Victoria Baptists. Jamie Crouch scored the Battle goal.

JC Tackleway II picked up six points from the day’s other double header, against Ticehurst II. An Andrew Wallbank hat-trick and one from Marius Viorica clinched a 4-1 victory, while Aaron Lillycrop bagged both goals in a 2-0 win.

The league’s highest scorers on Saturday were Wittersham II, who ran out comprehensive 9-2 winners at home to AFC St Leonards. Nathan Jackson had an afternoon to remember with five of the goals, while Carl Davey (2), Billy Hilding and George Slater completed the rout.

In Division Six, Hawkhurst United II and FC Westridge both won to boost their hopes of overhauling a second-placed Punnetts Town II team which has already finished.

Third-placed Hawkhurst triumphed 5-0 at home to Hampden Park United to move level on points with Punnetts, albeit with an inferior goal difference, with one game to go.

A solitary Jordan Gladwish goal was enough for Westridge to prevail away to Robertsbridge United II and move above them in the process. Westridge are six points adrift of Hawkhurst having played two fewer matches.