SIDLESHAM began the new year with their first league defeat of the season - a 3-2 reverse at home to Haywards Heath - although could at least take pride in being the final team in the top three county league divisions to lose their unbeaten tag.
Haywards Heath started the division-two clash at a brisk pace and nearly opened the scoring after only five minutes, and the Sids were struggling to restrict their constant attacks.
It was no surprise when, on 15 minutes, they took the lead when a Heath forward found himself on his own and put the ball out of the reach of the home keeper.
The Sids began to push forward in search of an equaliser and were rewarded on 20 minutes as Paul Barnes met a fine cross from the right with a powerful header to bring the scores level.
The home defence were not playing with any conviction and allowed a Heath forward room to score their second on 30 minutes.
Sids were finding it difficult to cope with the speed and movement of their opponents but on 40 minutes Kieran Hartley was brought down by the Heath keeper and got up to put away the penalty himself to bring the scores level once again.
The second half began with Andy Hounsome being replaced by Dan Bassil.
Again the Sids were pushed back by the Heath forwards but with the defence beginning to sort itself out they were coping and denying their opponents the room to cause problems.
Barnes had to go off injured and was replaced by Tiyumtaba Harruna.
On 75 minutes the hosts’ defence again allowed a Heath forward too much space and he restored their lead.
The Sids were chasing the game and should have equalised when a ball from the right was put over the bar with the Heath keeper stranded.
SIDS: Arnell, Carrigher, Millins, Grantham, Chatfield, Hounsome, Hartley, Whitmore, Barnes, Platt, Phillips. Subs: Bassil, Harruna, Low, Newman, McDuffie.
Sids are still top of the table and travel to face basement side TD Shipley this Saturday.