Sidley United 2-0 Easbourne Rangers - Match Report
5th October 2015
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The rangers ESFL team faced Sidley United this week in a top of the table clash at Hooe Rec. Rangers had several players unavailable for selection with Greg Manton, Rory Newby, Tony Derese, Connor Sullivan and Remareo Tapper all missing for various reasons. That being said rangers still felt they could take all three points.
 
Sidley started the better of the two teams by pressing well and appeared to be really tuned in to their individual tasks all over the pitch. Sidley created a couple of half chances from long range, the most notable of which was heroically charged down by Lee Chapman at centre half. Rangers struggled to get into their usual stride, credit should be given to the way the home side had started. 
 
But the more the half wore on, it was clear that rangers could, and would, create openings with the home legs tiring. Carl Kenward flashed a long range drive just wide past the stranded keeper just before the half hour mark, while rangers best opening of the half came just moments later. Rangers broke away from deep on the counter attack which saw Matt Wheeler racing away down the right flank,the Sidley left back left for dead. Wheeler was through on goal with only the keeper to beat, 16 yards out on the right side if the 18 yard box, but opted to square the ball up to Jamie Strong. Strong, usually so clinical in these situations, fired his shot straight at the thankful keeper with the home crowd breathing a huge sigh of relief.
 
Wheeler created another opening on 37 minutes when his early cross whistled across the box, but striker Dan Wilkes could only get his toe to the ball which flashed wide of the far post, again the keeper stranded.
 
Rangers continued to come more and more into the game the longer the half wore on and it wasn't until the 42nd minute that rangers showed what they were capable of with a classic piece of pass and move football. Tidy play from Steve Green and Ben Jesson saw the latter majestically back heal the ball to Kirk Ferguson through a Sidley midfielders legs. Ferguson found Strong, who had dropped off of his marker just outside the area, but his turn and shot from range was comfortably gathered by the Sidley number one.
 
At half time the message was not to panic as it was surely only a matter of time before rangers would break the deadlock.
 
The red and blacks started the second period well and almost took the lead on 49 minutes. Neat play in the rangers midfield released Sean Hardie who unleashed a rasping left footed effort from twenty yards which flew just wide of the upright.
 
Sidley rarely threatened from open play with Bell, Chapman and Aaron Filsell mopping up Sidley long balls with aplomb. With 25 minutes to go, Sidley were awarded a dubious freekick near the rangers right sided corner flag after Green was harshly adjudged to have fouled the Sidley winger, who had grappled Greens waste (while Green had his hands raised in the air), with the Sidley man going down theatrically with good effect. Rangers frustration with the decision was then compounded when the freekick was met by a Sidley player who crashed the ball against the rangers bar from close range. The ball appeared to cross the line but the goal wasn't given. But seconds later the same Sidley man headed the ball home after reacting the quickest after Bell had attempted to clear. 1-0 Sidley.
 
This was a sucker blow for rangers but the red and blacks continued to create chances. On 70 minutes Hardie broke away down the rangers left. His cross was touched down first time by Wilkes to Strong who's first time volley from 14 yards fired over the bar. Sidley appeared to be happy to try and hold onto their lead and played a high line, catching the rangers runners offside on several occasions. From a rangers corner, the tallest player on the pitch towered above everyone else and headed the ball off in what should have been a rangers corner. Bizarrely, the referee awarded a goal kick and Chapman's protest earned him a yellow card. 
 
With 12 minutes to go, rangers were awarded a freekick 20 yards from goal. Strong's direct effort clipped the wall which saw the keeper touch the ball on to the bar and away for a corner which saw the Sidley defence sarcastically calling for a goal kick. :-)
 
With 10 minutes to go, Anthony Allen replaced Hardie which saw Allen step in up front and Wilkes moved on to the wing. Rangers were still pushing for an equaliser but the home defence was proving to be efficiently stubborn. With five minutes to go, rangers had a half chance, with Strong cutting in from the left but his curling shot went over the bar. Sidley then had a huge chance of their own to put the game to bed but a wayward finish from close range sailed over the rangers bar.
 
With rangers pressing for that all important equaliser, Sidley delivered the sucker punch in the last minute of the game. A break down the rangers right saw an early centre from the Sidley winger. The young Sidley striker, who had come on as a substitute, saw his attempted first time finish get stuck under his foot. With Bell (and the striker) already on the floor having tried to read the first time effort, the youngster had the presence of mind to stab the ball past the stranded rangers number one, the ball trickling into the rangers net to give Sidley all three points.
 
This was of course a disappointing result for rangers but the red and blacks still sit in a healthy second place in the division one table with a long way of the season still to go. The first goal in this game proved to be crucial and rangers will be disappointed to have not made one or two chances count before the Sidley opener. Sidley to their credit, were a well organised outfit and will no doubt be pushing for honours this season. 
 
The Seaside Cafe MOM was awarded to Dan Wilkes - tireless ruining and never gave up.
 
Rangers will be looking to bounce back in the next game when they welcome Old Hastonians to the sports park 3G. Rangers beat Hastonians three times last year including in the league cup final where a last minute winner secured rangers the trophy. 
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Eastbourne Rangers FC

Member since: 25th July 2013

Eastbourne Rangers were formed in May 2009 and after a seasons worth of consolidation, we haven't looked back since. Four league consecutive titles in five years (which have seen the club promoted SIX...

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