Sids begin with win... tough start for Stags... false start for Selsey
Sidlesham 1 Ringmer 0
Southern Combination division one
Sidlesham started life in a new league with a hard-fought win.
They handed debuts to Sam Devine, Graham Dowden and the experienced Brad Miles and all three settled immediately, having a big influence.
Ringmer started full of energy and worked hard to stop Sids playing their possession-based game but Sidlesham were creating the chances.
The first fell to Dan Bassil, who spun on the edge of the box only for his left-foot volley flew past the post.
Miles immediately stung the keeper’s hands with a fierce volley and from the resulting corner Baz McCoy came close with a back-post header. It was all Sids and a deflected left-foot shot from John Phillips cannoned off the crossbar.
The away side posed a threat through set-pieces but they never really troubled John Pope in the home goal.
The move of the match nearly opened the scoring for Sids as Dowden fed in Tom Bayley whose touch put Phillips in on goal; however the keeper saved well.
Bassil had the final chance of the half when Miles’ pinpoint through ball put him one on one – but the keeper stood up well and made sure the sides went in level.
The first 15 minutes of the second period saw Sids taking control.
On 60 minutes the deadlock was broken when Bayley beat his marker and put in a gem of a cross for Bassil to head past the keeper.
The goal actually encouraged Ringmer but the Sids defence held firm. It was from set-pieces that Ringmer looked dangerous and on 75 minutes they hit the bar with a header.
Bayley and Danny Millins had chances to put the game out of reach but were denied by the keeper late on – then deep into injury time, another Ringmer corner led to a goalmouth scramble.
SIDS: Pope, Devine, Carrigher, McCoy, Grantham, Millins, Dowden, Miles (Martin), Bassil (Jefkins), Bayley. Unused subs: Griffiths, Leggat.
On Tuesday goals from Graeme Dowden and John Phillips failed to prevent a 3-2 defeat at Storrington.
Steyning 2 Midhurst 1
Southern Combination division one
Midhurst began this season as they started the last – with a 2-1 away defeat.
On a blistering hot day it was a test of tactical play and a day to let the ball do as much work as possible.
The Stags welcomed new centre-half Rob Browne and Jack Plummer, who is proving a great asset in central midfield.
The real star of the show was Miles Hamilton, who made several key saves at crucial points in the game.
The opening stages were tame, with neither side creating clear-cut chances.
In midfield, the trio of Mason, Plummer and Towers were dominating much of the play – but the first goal came as a bitter blow.
Steyning’s big forward Garner managed to roll Dummer in the 18-yard box. He ran the ball out of play and stumbled – but with both teams setting up for a goal kick a penalty was awarded and slotted away.
The hosts had chances but Hamilton made top saves. This seemed to spur on the Stags and a spell of possession followed.
Gary Norgate, playing up front for the first time in three years, looked lively and brought others into play well.
The first chance fell to the ageing forward after neat play from Dreckman, Towers and Mason but Norgate hit the post and go wide.
Against the run of play Steyning made it two. A big knock upfield evaded everyone and Garner finished well.
Plummer received a pin point pass from Broughton in his own half. He evaded several tackles and unleashed a 30-yard strike. It looked like a pass back to the opposition keeper but the Steyning number one let the ball past him and into the net.
The second half was a dull affair with the heat taking its toll.
The first chance of the second half fell to Steyning, with Dobbs hitting a 20-yard effort. Hamilton tipped it over.
There one last chance to equalise. Patterson set Mason free on the left and his 30-yard cross-field ball found the head of Norgate who headed wide.
Steyning had a couple of late chances which were again thwarted by Hamilton.
MIDHURST: M Hamilton, Patterson, Dummer, Browne (Turner), Broughton, Plummer, Mason, Towers, L Hamilton (Sheldrick), Dreckman, Norgate. Sub not used: May.
In midweek a Lewis Hamilton strike was not enough to stave off a 2-1 defeat at Crawley Down Gatwick.
Selsey’s division-one season had a false start - opponents Saltdean couldn’t raise a team. It is understood delays in registering players with the league were to blame.
Selsey are confident they will be awarded the points.
In midweek Selsey lost 3-2 at Mile Oak. Callum Overton scored both.
The Blues are in FA Cup action at the High Street Ground on Saturday against Erith.
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