East Sussex League: It's so tight at the top
The top seven teams in the East Sussex Football League premier division are covered by just three points after the sixth weekend of the 2020/21 season.
Rock-a-Nore remain top, albeit now only by goal difference, after losing 4-1 away to Northiam 75 on a chilly Saturday afternoon.
An Adam Page double, and one each from Joe Millar and Oscar Garcia-Cruz earned Northiam a victory which moved them up to fourth and within a point of their victims.
Reece Johnson provided the lone response from the Rocks, who have now suffered back-to-back defeats after taking 10 points from their first four matches.
Crowhurst are up to second following a 1-1 draw away to Punnetts Town, although a win would have put the Crows top.
A Simon Betteridge goal for Punnetts was matched by Jordan Slater on his Crowhurst debut. Punnetts, in fact, would have climbed out of the bottom two had they not been denied by a late penalty save from Crowhurst goalkeeper Perry Salmons.
The weekend's other top flight game also ended all-square, albeit only after St Leonards Social produced a rousing comeback from 3-0 down at half-time to draw 3-3 away to Robertsbridge United.
Strikes by Grant Murray, Brett Patton and Steffan Davies rescued a point for Social after the goals of Ben Hassall, Rhys Kuhler and Chris Phillips had seemingly put Robertsbridge in command. Social stay sixth and Robertsbridge eighth.
Bexhill AAC remain a point clear at the top of Division One following a narrow 1-0 win away to neighbours Sidley United II.
A solitary Oscar Hammond goal was enough to take AAC's tally to 13 points from their first five league encounters.
South Coast Athletico climbed to second courtesy of a 3-1 victory away to Rye Town.
Jarad Beaumont's brace, either side of a Connor Easton goal, gave Athletico their fourth consecutive victory. Liam Sayer nabbed a late consolation for fifth-placed Rye.
The JC Tackleway dropped to third, albeit only three points off the top, after contesting a 2-2 draw at home to Peche Hill Select.
Goals by Adam Hull and Nathan Smith for Tackleway were matched by Jacob Shelton and Joe Worsley for Peche Hill, who rose a place to sixth.
Victoria Baptists climbed off the bottom, above Sidley on goal difference, via a 1-1 draw at home to fourth-placed Sedlescombe Rangers II.
Paul Harvey gave Victoria a second-half lead only for Sedlescombe to equalise through Isaac Perrin.
Division Two leaders Little Common II continued their blistering form by winning 7-1 away to Herstmonceux.
Nick Kavanagh - the leading scorer across all six divisions - plundered a five-goal salvo to take his tally for the season to 16 in just six matches.
Attilio Field and Connor Jackson also netted for Common, who are yet to drop a point and have amassed a +30 goal difference.
Bexhill Rovers are second, albeit six points behind the leaders, following a 4-1 victory at home to Mountfield United.
Luke Alais, James Jeffreys, Jake Garnell and Nicholas Penfold were on the scoresheet for Rovers, while Jordan Brindley notched for Mountfield.
SC Pass + Move Arrows climbed to third in light of a 5-0 success at home to Westfield II.
Jonjo Wright (2), Tom Cusden, Frazer Discala and Ross Williams scored for Pass + Move, who are three points behind Rovers with two games in hand and have a better goal difference.
Westfield have fallen to sixth after having three points deducted for fielding an ineligible player in their win over Northiam II on the season's opening day. In turn, Northiam have had three points added to their tally and are now level on points with Westfield.
With previous pacesetters Sandhurst in cup action, AFC Hollington went top of Division Three thanks to a 3-0 win away to Hastings United Youth.
Anton Neil banged in a hat-trick to earn a fourth consecutive victory for Hollington, who are two points clear having played an extra match.
Bexhill AAC II advanced to third in light of a 3-1 success at home to Hawkhurst United II.
Charlie Morgan's brace and one from Elliott Matthews did the damage for AAC, who are now just a point behind Sandhurst. Leon Fisher's goal couldn't prevent Hawkhurst sliding into the bottom two.
Having conceded their previous two fixtures, Hampden Park returned to the field in style with a 9-3 triumph away to Robertsbridge United II.
Paul Weatherby blasted a hat-trick, Callum Langford netted twice, and there was one apiece for Ryan Molyneux, Jay Kendall, Vince Rembridge and Sam Laycock as Park soared three places to fifth. Robert Cauvain (2) and Will Padovani replied for Robertsbridge.
As in the Premier Division, the leading seven sides in Division Four are separated by a mere three points.
That's after the 100 percent record of top dogs Icklesham Casuals went up in smoke with a 4-0 defeat away to Parkfield.
Luke Holland, Calum Nolan, Oliver Truman and Timothy Tockas struck to move Parkfield up three places to fourth.
Hooe rose two positions to second on the strength of a 5-0 win away to Sedlescombe Rangers development.
Aidan Pierce (2), Harley Millward, Jack Walker and Noah White were the men on the mark for Hooe, who are now a point behind Icklesham having played an extra match.
While Sedlescombe slid from third to seventh, Welcroft Park Rangers tumbled from second to sixth after losing 3-1 away to Magham Down.
Dashielle Bourne struck twice and William Napier-Brown once for Magham, who are up to fifth having played less games than all of the teams around them. Kieran Apps scored the Welcroft Park goal.
Sovereign Saints II jumped from fifth to third by virtue of a 3-1 victory at home to Battle Town III.
David Wisdom (2) and David Green were the scorers for Saints, who only trail Hooe on goal difference having played once less.
The sole scheduled Division Five fixture, between Wadhurst United II and Hastings Comets, was postponed.
West Hill United II have withdrawn from the league, meaning the bottom division now contains only seven teams.
The table has been revised accordingly, yet AFC Hollington II and Wadhurst remain level on points at the summit.
There was also plenty of cup action last weekend, although all of the league's three sides in Sussex Intermediate Challenge Cup first-round action were beaten.
Premier Division title hopefuls Battle Town lost 5-2 after extra-time at home to Upper Beeding.
Tyler Mole was among the scorers for Battle against opposition which is unbeaten in Southern Combination League Division Two so far this term.
Bexhill Town went down 2-0 at home to West Sussex League Championship North outfit Horsham Crusaders and Wadhurst United, also of the Premier Division, were edged out 2-1 away to Mid Sussex League Championship club Polegate Town.
One Robertsbridge Charity Intermediate Cup first-round contest was played and Hawkhurst United ran out 4-2 winners at home to Battle Town II.
Jason Donoghue (2), Mark Mitchell and Steve Warren netted for Premier Division team Hawkhurst, while Joshua Reuter and Adam Thomsett were on target for Division One side Battle.
The Hawks will entertain Rock-a-Nore in the quarter-finals on a date to be announced.
There was no shortage of goals or surprise results among the six first-round ties resolved in the Robertsbridge Charity Junior Cup.
The standout scorelines included a splendid 4-0 win for Division Five leaders AFC Hollington II at home to Division Three high-flyers Sandhurst.
Jules Phillips blasted a hat-trick and Brad Freeman got the other as Hollington inflicted a first defeat of the season on their opponents.
West Hill United also upset opposition from two tiers higher up by triumphing 4-1 at home to St Leonards Social II.
United, who have lost their opening two Division Four matches, surprised their Division Two visitors courtesy of goals from Lewis Barrett, Ayrton Ellis, Eid Sheekh and Frank Baden Hubbard.
Orington, from Division Four, had a day to remember as well, winning 8-3 at home to Division Three outfit The JC Tackleway II.
Ashley Jamieson helped himself to four goals, Tristan Hinz bagged a brace, and one apiece from Aaron Lillycrop and Adam How completed Orington's haul. Kelsey Boseley (2) and Dan Noakes responded for Tackleway.
Another team on the goal trail was Northiam 75 II, who ran out 9-2 victors away to Division Two rivals Peche Hill Select II.
Solly Cooke, Kelvin Lowes and Emile Tambeh scored twice each, and Luke Gasson, Scott Embery and James Fielding also got in on the act for Northiam. Kieren Martin claimed both of Peche Hill's goals.
Guy Ballard was among the scorers for Ticehurst as the Division Five side made their Division Two hosts Catsfield work for their 4-2 victory.
Division Three club Old Town Lions received a walkover at home to Welcroft Park Rangers II, of Division Five.
The quarter-final line-up has Orington at home to Bexhill AAC or Mountfield United, Old Town Lions hosting Northiam II, AFC Hollington II entertaining Catsfield and West Hill United welcoming Sedlescombe Rangers development or Hastings United Youth.
League standings - Premier Division (played-points): Rock-a-Nore 6-10, Crowhurst 6-10, Battle Town 3-9, Northiam 75 5-9, Wadhurst United 5-8, St Leonards Social 5-7, Hawkhurst United 4-7, Robertsbridge United 5-4, Punnetts Town 4-4, Bexhill Town 5-0.
Division 1 (played-points): Bexhill AAC 5-13, South Coast Athletico 5-12, The JC Tackleway 5-10, Sedlescombe Rangers II 6-8, Rye Town 5-6, Peche Hill Select 4-4, Battle Town II 4-4, Victoria Baptists 4-2, Sidley United II 6-2.
Division 2 (played-points): Little Common II 6-18, Bexhill Rovers 6-12, SC Pass + Move Arrows 4-9, Catsfield 3-7, Herstmonceux 6-7, Westfield II* 6-6, Northiam 75 II* 5-6, St Leonards Social II 3-3, Peche Hill Select II 4-3, Mountfield United 5-0.
Division 3 (played 4 matches unless stated): AFC Hollington (5) 12pts, Sandhurst 10, Bexhill AAC II 9, Old Town Lions 7, Hampden Park 6, Hastings United Youth (5) 6, The JC Tackleway II (3) 3, Hawkhurst United II (5) 3, Robertsbridge United II 0.
Division 4 (played-points): Icklesham Casuals 4-9, Hooe 5-8, Sovereign Saints II 4-8, Parkfield 5-7, Magham Down 3-6, Welcroft Park Rangers 4-6, Sedlescombe Rangers development 5-6, Orington 4-5, Battle Town III 4-1, West Hill United 2-0.
Division 5 (played-points): AFC Hollington II 3-7, Wadhurst United II 3-7, Hastings Comets 3-6, Hampden Park u23 4-6, Ticehurst 4-3, Welcroft Park Rangers II 3-3, Herstmonceux II 4-3. West Hill United II withdrawn.
Saturday October 17 fixtures (kick-off 3pm unless stated) - Premier Division: Bexhill Town v Crowhurst.
Division 2: Herstmonceux v St Leonards Social II.
Division 3: Hampden Park v Hastings United Youth (3.30pm).
Division 4: Orington v Welcroft Park Rangers (1.30pm); Parkfield v Sovereign Saints II (1.30pm); Sedlescombe Rangers development v Icklesham Casuals (1.30pm); Battle Town III v Magham Down.
Division 5: Ticehurst v Hampden Park u23; Wadhurst United II v Herstmonceux II; Welcroft Park Rangers II v AFC Hollington II.
ESFL Graham Ormston Premier Travel Challenge Cup, 2nd round (2.30pm unless stated): Peche Hill Select v Northiam 75; Robertsbridge United v Bexhill AAC; Rock-a-Nore v Hawkhurst United; Sedlescombe Rangers II v Battle Town; Sidley United II v Victoria Baptists; St Leonards Social v Rye Town; South Coast Athletico v Wadhurst United (3.30pm).
ESFL Wisdens Sports Challenge Cup, 2nd round (2.30pm): AFC Hollington v Old Town Lions; Bexhill Rovers v Robertsbridge United II; Hawkhurst United II v Little Common II; Northiam 75 II v Peche Hill Select II; Sandhurst v SC Pass + Move Arrows; Westfield II v Bexhill AAC II. 1st round: The JC Tackleway II v Mountfield United.
ESFL Division Four & Five Challenge Cup, 1st round (3.30pm): Hastings Comets v West Hill United.