Sidley seconds reach cup final as Battle are beaten
Sidley United seconds beat Battle Town 2-0 in this crunch match to book a spot in the ESFL Prem / Div 1 Cup Final as winners of Group A, writes Ciaran Bird.
Battle came into the game needing to avoid defeat to take that place themselves but Sidley always looked the stronger side. Gary Hempe hit the crossbar with a free kick early on and from another good Hempe cross, Alex Williams steered a shot into the side netting.
Battle's best chance came when a neat move got them in down the right hand sdie and the ball was cut back to Dean Boyd but he ballooned his shot over the bar.
In the second half Sidley remained in the ascendancy. After a good move involving Chris Agutter and Sean Baldwin, the ball was played across to Williams on the left and his low, first time shot beat the Battle goalkeeper, who wasn't having his finest day, to give Sidley the lead after 58 minutes.
With the goal they needed, Sidley continued to ensure they were solid and sensible at the back while still looking for the second goal to kill off the game and it came on 84 minutes when some terrific work from Harry Fuller saw him win the ball from Battle's Tom Saunders who tried to shield the ball out of play. From the byline Fuller pulled it back to Harley Ransom who slotted home from close range.
Battle's frustration took over as Jamie Lindsey was sin-binned for dissent towards the referee before another Battle player saw yellow for a poor challenge with the final action of the game. But Sidley kept their heads to claim the all important win and will face either Rock a Nore or Rye Town in the final to be played at Westfield FC on May 22.
Sidley's Man of the Match: Chris Agutter
Rock a Nore 2-0 JC Tackleway
The Old Town derby was won by Rocks. The game was even in the early stages but an under-hit back pass led to the Tackleway keeper bringing down Reece Johnson, and Jack Franklin dispatched the resulting penalty to put the Rocks 1-0 up. Another mistake in the Tackleway defence gave Reece Johnson the chance to double the lead and half-time arrived with Rocks 2-0 up.
The second half saw constant pressure from Tackleway but they were unable to breach the resolute Rocks defence. Both teams had a player dismissed as the competitive nature of the fixture showed. The Rocks now have to beat Battle 2nds in their last game to set up an appearance against Sidley 2nds in the ESFL tournament final.