Hayes the hero for Sids ... Bosham hope for bumper crowd
Sidlesham fought back to claim a point when Upper Beeding visited - while Bosham are preparing for a run-in they hope will land them the title.
Read about our SCFL division-two sides below, and get all the local football action in the Observer every Thursday.
Sidlesham 2 Upper Beeding 2
SCFL division two
Sidlesham staged a stirring fightback to claim a point in their first home game for six weeks.
Conditions were almost perfect for football with the pitch looking good and both sides trying to use it.
Upper Beeding, on the back of a 14-match unbeaten run, were to provide a tough test, starting the brighter, and they were soon ahead.
Slack marking in the Sidlesham defence allowed Kieron Stevens to ghost into the box unmarked and finish well.
This seemed to stun the home side and Ben Buckland got away down the right but his great cross was well defended by the away side.
Then Tom Kelly crossed for Tom Bayley but he seemed to scuff his shot and the keeper gathered, Bayley crossed for Kelly, who somehow missed from five yards out.
Beeding threatened on the break but most of the pressure came from Sidlesham.
The second half was more lively with the home side straight on the attack fbut without causing the away keeper too much trouble.
Beeding got the second against the run of play when a forward was upended by Dale Hayes and the free-kick by Jack Whittington found its way through the wall and into the net.
Sidlesham piled more and more pressure on in the final quarter and Dan Bassil slotted home after Callum Dowdell’s fine run and cross.
Bayley had a half-chance – twisting and turning in the box, he forced the keeper into a smart stop down to his right.
The visitors should have increased their lead but couldn’t beat Connor Kelly when a forward was through on goal.
In the last few minutes, after a succession of corners, Hayes rose highest to head home a deserved equaliser with 89 minutes on the clock.
Saturday sees Sidlesham on their travels to Jarvis Brook, who must win to keep alive any title hopes.
The following week Sids complete their home fixtures with Montpelier Villa the visitors.
Bosham boss Andy Probee is calling on the community to get behind the club as they close in on the SCFL division-two title.
The Robins need four points from their remaining three fixtures to guarantee the honour – though could clinch it this Saturday if they win at home to Roffey and Jarvis Brook fail to beat Sidlesham.
Probee is keen to see a healthy crowd at Walton Lane for the Roffey game (3pm) and again when Sidlesham visit on Easter Monday, April 17 (11am). A trip to Cowfold concludes the campaign on April 22.
The player-manager said: “We’ve had a great season so far, but Roffey and Sidlesham will be two really testing games for us – seeing some more local support could really help lift us over the line.
“Since Neil (Redman) and myself took over, we’ve won the Division Two Cup twice, but this year the league has been our primary objective, so to win that would really be the icing on the cake.
“The last couple of games have been challenging at times as we were without a recognised goalkeeper, but Callum Fewell – our normal centre-half – has stood in and been tremendous keeping two clean sheets.
“Nick Edgington’s also been brilliant when called upon – strength and experience in getting us through games away at Westfield when we were down to the bare bones, and again last week at Roffey. It’s these sorts of games that end up making the difference.
“We’ve kept the same spine to the side for a while now, and they all work hard for each other – experienced players at this level like Matt Docherty and Bradley Miles, who has been phenomenal for us this season with his (17) goals from midfield.”
Leading scorer Marco Giambelardini has scored 32 times from 29 starts, but the side have shared the goals about, with just two more needed to bring up the century.
So often with grassroots clubs, the manager wears many hats, and Probee is no different – also taking the mantle of groundsman in preparing the excellent Walton Lane pitch – which is once again up for the Sussex FA Groundsman of the Year award at step seven – an honour he has won for the past three years.
Apart from spells managing Sidlesham and Chichester City’s reserves, Bosham has been a real labour of love for the 37-year-old, having started as a youth player himself in the late 1980s, managed by father Bob – now the club president; with late grandfather Dennis, the former club Vice President.
Winning the title would be bittersweet for the village side, as they are unable to meet step six ground-grading requirements to claim promotion, something Probee is philosophical about:
“We know we can’t go up without lights and a stand, which is a shame, but we’ve got a great bunch here and a great little set-up.
“We’ve seen the likes of Kieran Hartley (now at Chichester City) come through, and we’ll continue to develop players and do things the right way – the lads deserve this (title) for their hard work on the pitch as much as the committee do for their efforts off it.”
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