Casuals triumph in league's first final
The first of the Macron East Sussex Football League's cup finals took place last night (Monday).
Icklesham Casuals lifted the Wisdens Sports Challenge Cup with a 4-0 victory over fellow Division Two high-flyers Sovereign Saints at The Pilot Field, home of Hastings United FC.
Charlie Cornford was Icklesham’s hero after scoring all four of their goals.
After the Easter weekend was all but decimated by the wet weather, the rain thankfully relented so that an almost full programme could take place on Saturday.
Premier Division leaders Hollington United picked up their 13th win in 15 league games without kicking a ball as scheduled opponents Hawkhurst United were unable to raise a side against them for the second time this season.
Second-placed Battle Baptists remain four points behind with a game in hand following a good 4-0 win at home to sixth-placed Sedlescombe Rangers. Dean Boyd’s hat-trick and one from Glen Carrick gave Battle their eighth consecutive league victory.
In-form Sidley United moved above Rye Town into the top three after beating them 3-2 in a fixture moved from Rye to Bexhill Road.
Sidley were three-up inside half-an-hour through the finishing of Lee Carey, James Bailey and Rosh Wells before a brace of Charlie Stevens goals got Rye back into it. Sidley are a point above Rye having played an extra match.
Fifth-placed Robertsbridge United contested a 0-0 draw in a home fixture against ninth-placed St Leonards Social which was played at Sandhurst.
A Luke Towner hat-trick fired Ore Athletic to a 4-1 win at home to Crowhurst in the battle of the bottom two. Jamie Rabbetts was also on target for Ore, who are now nine points above their opponents.
Division One leaders Northiam 75 continued their fine form with a 6-2 success at home to a Rock-a-Nore team now guaranteed to finish in the bottom two.
Oscar Garcia Cruz and Scott Embery struck twice each for Northiam, whose other scorers were Stephen Housago and Andrew Maplesden.
The only team which has a realistic chance of catching Northiam is Bexhill AAC, who are 11 points behind them with five games in hand.
Fifth-placed AAC twice came from behind to earn a 2-2 draw at home to second-placed Westfield II. Andy Atkin and Darren Witham (penalty) notched for AAC, while Kevin Barden and Billy-Jo Driver struck for a Westfield side playing its penultimate match of the season.
Third-placed Wadhurst United lost 2-1 at home to fourth-placed Mountfield United in a result which leaves the two teams level on games played and points earned.
Sixth-placed The JC Tackleway lost 3-0 to eighth-placed Herstmonceux in a home fixture moved to Bexhill Road. Toby Guest, Rory Collins and Artur Mendes found the net for Ceux, who are only three points outside the top three in a very congested table, albeit with only one game left.
Little Common II kept alive their slim hopes of finishing off the bottom by virtue of a 5-3 win at home to seventh-placed Hastings Rangers.
Connor Jackson plundered a four-goal salvo and Jordan Harris grabbed the other for Common, who must win their final two matches and hope Rock-a-Nore lose their last game to avoid the wooden spoon.
Bexhill United II consolidated top spot in Division Two by virtue of a 3-1 victory at home to fifth-placed St Leonards Social II.
Ben Packer, Ben Barton and Andy Matthews struck for Bexhill, who are four points ahead of second-placed Icklesham having played four more matches and six better off than third-placed Sovereign Saints having played five more games.
Saints picked up the full six points on offer from their double header against second-bottom Wittersham, winning the first match 2-0 and the second 5-1.
Aaron Brindley and George Sambrook scored in the first game before Philip Broom (2), Chris Williams, George Wheeler and Thomas Wilding netted in the second.
Fourth-placed Hollington United II won 3-0 away to bottom club Bexhill Rovers, who were playing their final fixture of the campaign.
Battle Baptists II climbed out of the bottom two by winning 3-1 away to seventh-placed Mayfield.
Strikes by Ben Kempner, Frazer Discala and James Williams put Battle three points above Wittersham having played a game more.
Sedlescombe Rangers II secured the runners-up spot in Division Three with a 2-2 draw at home to sixth-placed Catsfield.
Toby Hicks and Kye Phillips put Sedlescombe into a two-goal half time lead before Catsfield hit back with a pair of second half strikes.
The only other contested game in the division ended in a 5-0 victory for fifth-placed The JC Tackleway II away to bottom side Ticehurst. Goals from Danyal Aldous (2), Ryan Still, Toby Shaw and Craig Jones boosted Tackleway’s quest for a top three finish.
Second-bottom Hawkhurst United II failed to raise a team for their game away to third-bottom Magham Down and third-placed Pebsham Sibex conceded their final match of the season, away to seventh-placed Victoria Baptists.
Sibex could well lose third spot over the coming weeks, with Tackleway and Catsfield each having several games left to play.
The clash of the top two in Division Four ended all-square, with second-placed Bexhill AAC II and leaders Orington playing out a 2-2 draw.
The efforts of Ashley Carey and Alan Louange for AAC were cancelled out by Adam How and Scott Quested for Orington.
Orington remain five points clear, but AAC have two games in hand.
Fourth-placed South Coast Athletico were the day’s highest scorers after winning 9-0 at home to bottom-of-the-table Burwash.
Connor Easton led the way with a hat-trick, Luke Darvill bagged a brace, and there was one apiece for Wayne March, Bradley Owens, Ryan Fuller and Ryan Wright.
Hampden Park boosted their Division Five title hopes by winning 6-0 away to sixth-placed Wittersham II.
Craig Crowther (2), Daniel Weston, Carl Barnes, Marcus Moss and Eddie Dunn netted for second-placed Hampden Park, who are now just two points behind leaders Sedlescombe Rangers III with two games in hand.
Bottom-of-the-table Beckley Rangers pulled off a 2-1 victory away to Herstmonceux II via the finishing of Harry Rhys Jones and Joe Maylam.
AFC Hollington moved up a place to third-from-bottom after earning a useful 0-0 draw away to fifth-placed Robertsbridge United II.
The bottom three teams are now covered by a solitary point.
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