Crowhurst soar to key win, Bexhill AAC hit the front, Division Three title race hots up
Crowhurst came out on top against St Leonards Social in a clash between two of the East Sussex Football League's high-flyers.
The Crows won 2-1 at Tilekiln on Saturday to preserve their three-point advantage at the top of the Premier Division table.
Harry Loates' first-half double earned Crowhurst their seventh league victory out of eight even though Taylor Norton pulled one back for Social after the break.
Social's second successive loss, after a six-game unbeaten start to the league campaign, has seen them drop to fourth and they now trail Crowhurst by six points.
Second-placed Battle Town kept up the pressure with a 3-1 success at home to Punnetts Town. Glen Carrick's brace and one from Dane Smith did the damage.
It was the third time in four Saturdays that Battle and fifth-placed Punnetts have gone head to head - and the third time that Battle have come out on top.
Doni Dovla plundered a hat-trick as Bexhill Town moved up to third courtesy of a 4-0 triumph away to Wadhurst United.
Liam Richards also found the net for Bexhill, who are five points behind the leaders having played an extra match.
Northiam 75 picked up their first win (apart from a walkover) since October 2 with a good 3-1 victory at home to Hawkhurst United.
The goals of Oscar Garcia-Cruz, Aydin Janes and George Lawrence lifted Northiam above their victims into the top six. Sam Beaney replied for the Hawks.
Bexhill AAC hit the front in Division One after winning 4-3 at home to previous leaders Rye Town.
The goals of Oscar Hammond, Fabio Histed, Andrew Matthews and David Pugh ensured AAC narrowly came out on top, despite Rye finding the net through Darren Warne, Rob Levett and an own goal.
It means AAC are now a point clear of Rye, who have suddenly suffered back-to-back losses after winning their first six league encounters.
Third-placed Sidley United II ended a run of one point from a possible nine with a 5-4 victory in a nine-goal thriller away to Sedlescombe Rangers II.
An Ashley Elphick hat-trick and two from Alex Williams won it for Sidley, who are now just two points behind Rye with both sides at the midway stage of their league programmes.
Kale Hakos blasted four goals as The JC Tackleway jumped up two places to fourth on the back of an 8-0 success away to Peche Hill Select.
Joe Adams, Andrew Olorenshaw, Toby Payne and Jimmy Grain completed the scoring for Tackleway, who celebrated a fifth consecutive triumph in all competitions.
Division Two's top two were not in league action at the weekend, but the teams in third and fourth played out an entertaining 3-3 draw.
Herstmonceux and Westfield II shared six goals at Lime Cross, leaving both sides two points outside the top two and five off the summit.
Charlie Chambers, Reece Davey and Connor Middleton struck for Herstmonceux, who stay just behind Westfield on goal difference.
The third tier's other two matches both involved clubs in the bottom four and there was little change to the table as both ended all square.
Aidan Pierce scored both goals for sixth-placed Hooe as they drew 2-2 away to Bexhill Rovers and extended their unbeaten run to three matches in all competitions.
Sandhurst and Victoria Baptists remain level on points after contesting a 1-1 draw. Tomas Budd netted for Sandhurst, who are above Victoria on goal difference having played a game fewer.
The top three in Division Three all won, meaning the intriguing and closely-fought title race rages on.
Ninfield remain three points clear at the head of affairs after two Gary Bryant goals and one from Andy Hales earned them a 3-0 win at home to Mountfield United - their seventh league victory out of eight.
Second-placed Welcroft Park Rangers kept in touch with a 6-1 success at home to fourth-placed Icklesham Casuals.
Jamie Bundy's hat-trick, a Bill Coles double and one from Cameron Offord did the damage for Welcroft Park, while Rhys Piggott claimed Icklesham's consolation.
Third-placed AFC Hollington prevailed 4-0 away to The JC Tackleway II to stay six points behind Ninfield but with two games in hand and a better goal difference.
There's been another twist in the ever-changing tale at the top of Division Four, with Ticehurst now setting the pace.
The new leaders climbed up two places from third after scoring four second-half goals in a 5-1 win away to fifth-placed Sedlescombe Rangers development.
Alex Cheeseman, Edward Harwood, Toby Tapp, Thomas Thake and Danny McGahan struck to leave Ticehurst looking down on the rest, while Callum Ludlow got the Sedlescombe goal.
Hastings Comets' brief stay at the summit was ended by a 3-1 loss at home to South Coast Athletico II - and they are now two points back in second.
Brandon Smith's strike couldn't prevent the Comets suffering their second league defeat of the campaign as the goals of Michael Hawley, Jack Bloomfield and Tyler Smith secured Athletico's second league victory.
Battle Town III triumphed 5-4 in a thriller away to Orington, yet stayed bottom of the standings on goal difference as a result of Athletico also winning.
Spencer Sharkey, Ashley Jamieson and Scott Brunton netted for sixth-placed Orington, who are now just a point better off than the bottom two.
Division Five top dogs Westfield III suffered a surprise first league reverse of the season, opening the door to the chasing pack.
Having won seven and drawn one of their first eight league fixtures, Westfield lost 7-4 at home to a Burwash side which had taken seven points from its first eight.
Daniel Murrell's hat-trick, and one apiece from Ben Reader, Ole Reader, Rhys Kuhler and Keaton Hitchman lifted Burwash up a place to fifth.
Westfield remain six points clear of second-placed Hampden Park, albeit having now played three more matches.
And Crowhurst II will also be fancying their chances, having moved up to third following a 13-1 win at home to D&S Hastings Youth.
Terry Robinson (4), Ben Thorpe (3), Ben Hollingsworth (2), Anton Neil (2), Harley Millward and Jordan Miller scored for the Crows, who are nine points adrift of Westfield but have four games in hand.
Danny Croft grabbed the consolation for D&S, who are one of two teams across the six divisions to have already played 10 league matches.
here was also a smattering of cup action at the weekend, including an 8-0 win for Little Common II at home to Catsfield in round one of the Hastings & District FA Junior Cup.
Attilio Field scored five of Common's goals, Andrew McTear helped himself to a couple and Connor Morton also got in on the act in the all-Division Two affair.
Sovereign Saints II triumphed 3-2 at home to Division Four rivals Parkfield in the Eastbourne FA Junior Cup.
The goals of Nicholas Barden, Luke Maglennon and Tyriece Whiteoak for Saints narrowly eclipsed those of Alfie Morris and Oliver Truman for Parkfield.
In the same competition, Herstmonceux II ran out 5-1 victors away to fellow Division Five outfit Welcroft Park Rangers II.
Shay Stolton was among the scorers for a Welcroft Park side which finished the match with 10 men.
The ESFL Graham Ormston Premier Travel Chauffeurs Challenge Cup second-round tie between SC Pass+Move Arrows and Robertsbridge United was postponed for a second time.
Also off was the Eastbourne FA Vice Presidents Cup clash between Hampden Park and South Coast Athletico.
Standings (played-points) - Premier Division: Crowhurst 8-22 (+17 goal difference), Battle Town 8-19 (+20), Bexhill Town 9-17 (+11), St Leonards Social 8-16 (+8), Punnetts Town 9-14 (+8), Northiam 75 9-13 (-12), Hawkhurst United 10-10 (-3), Wadhurst United 9-5 (-14), Rock-a-Nore 7-4 (-7), Robertsbridge United 7-0 (-28).
Division 1: Bexhill AAC 8-19 (+25), Rye Town 8-18 (+13), Sidley United II 8-16 (+7), The JC Tackleway 8-13 (+8), SC Pass+Move Arrows 6-12 (+8), South Coast Athletico 6-10 (+1), Peche Hill Select 6-6 (-8), Battle Town II 8-3 (-22), Sedlescombe Rangers II 8-0 (-32).
Division 2: Northiam 75 II 8-18 (+11), Little Common II 8-15 (+15), Westfield II* 8-13 (+10), Herstmonceux 8-13 (0), Catsfield 9-11 (-12), Hooe* 8-10 (-13), Sandhurst 7-8 (+1), Victoria Baptists 8-8 (-6), Bexhill Rovers 8-7 (-6). * = points adjusted.
Division 3: Ninfield 8-21 (+12), Welcroft Park Rangers 8-18 (+31), AFC Hollington 6-15 (+25), Icklesham Casuals 8-12 (-7), The JC Tackleway II 9-10 (-10), Mountfield United 8-7 (-14), Bexhill AAC II 9-0 (-37). Peche Hill Select II withdrawn.
Division 4: Ticehurst 9-21 (+16), Hastings Comets 9-19 (+11), Sovereign Saints II 8-18 (+22), Parkfield 9-15 (+4), Sedlescombe Rangers development 9-9 (-19), Orington 7-7 (+2), South Coast Athletico II 8-6 (-7), Battle Town III 9-6 (-29).
Division 5: Westfield III 9-22 (+43), Hampden Park 6-16 (+35), Crowhurst II 5-13 (+35), Herstmonceux II 7-13 (+11), Burwash 9-10 (-9), Welcroft Park Rangers II 7-9 (-4), Hastings Comets II 9-7 (-31), D&S Hastings Youth 10-0 (-80). Sedlescombe Rangers IV withdrawn.
Saturday, November 27 fixtures - Premier Division (2pm): Battle Town v Hawkhurst United, Bexhill Town v Robertsbridge United, Punnetts Town v St Leonards Social, Rock-a-Nore v Northiam 75, Wadhurst United v Crowhurst.
Division 1 (2pm unless stated): Bexhill AAC v The JC Tackleway, Peche Hill Select v SC Pass+Move Arrows, Rye Town v Battle Town II, South Coast Athletico v Sidley United II (4pm).
Division 2 (2pm): Catsfield v Northiam 75 II, Hooe v Little Common II, Sandhurst v Westfield II, Victoria Baptists v Herstmonceux.
Division 3 (2pm): Icklesham Casuals v Bexhill AAC II, Ninfield v AFC Hollington, The JC Tackleway II v Mountfield United.
Division 4 (2pm unless stated): Hastings Comets v Sedlescombe Rangers development, Orington v South Coast Athletico II (1.30pm), Parkfield v Sovereign Saints II, Ticehurst v Battle Town III.
Division 5 (2pm): Crowhurst II v Hastings Comets II, Hampden Park v Burwash, Herstmonceux II v D&S Hastings Youth, Welcroft Park Rangers II v Westfield III.
Hastings & District FA Junior Cup, 1st round (1.30pm): Sedlescombe Rangers II v Bexhill Rovers.