Sids squeeze through to cup final

John Phillips was the goal hero in the Dis' semi-final / Picture by Chris Hatton
John Phillips was the goal hero in the Dis' semi-final / Picture by Chris Hatton

Sidlesham needed a late John Phillips strike to squeeze through to the Division 3 Cup final with a 1-0 semi-final victory over Roffey.

They welcomed twins Tom and Joe Jefkins back to the squad and started looking confident on the ball.

Phillips curled the ball up and over the wall into the corner of the net to send Sidlesham into the final.

The first chance came from a set piece, Phillips driving a low corner to the front post where Dean Bennett on the half turn volleyed just over the bar.

Sids’ approach play was excellent but in the final third, they seemed to rush things with too many long-range efforts.

On 25 minutes Tom Jefkins went close with a long-range effort.

Eight minutes later, Dan Bassil hit the shot of the season when his 30-yard strike cannoned off the underside of the bar, crashing down on to the goal-line and out to safety.

The discussion at half-time was about remaining patient but Sids never really got going in the second half, which was a scrappy affair for long spells.

Influential centre-half Barry McCoy had to go off injured after 55 minutes, with Paul Grantham replacing him.

Sidlesham were becoming frustrated with some of the officials’ decisions and this encouraged Roffey into the game.

The Sids’ back five, so solid all season, stood firm with John Pope in goal not having a save to make all match. The only half-chance Roffey created was a quick free-kick that found their centre-forward in the box before Danny Millins cleared.

On 63 minutes Tom Kelly replaced Tom Bayley and his energy helped get Sids back on top.

Kelly went close straight away with a header and followed that up minutes later with a shot from just inside the box that went narrowly wide.

Five minutes from time, the chance of the game fell to Dan Bassil when another pinpoint corner from Phillips fell to him six yards out but the striker pulled his shot wide.

It looked like the game would go to extra time, but in injury time Dean Bennett’s trickery won a free-kick on the edge of the box. Up stepped Phillips, knowing this was probably the last kick of the 90 minutes.

Phillips curled the ball up and over the wall into the corner of the net to send Sidlesham into the final. It was a worthy winner and nothing more than Gary Jefkins and Jay Smith’s team deserved.

MoM was Phillips for his tireless work in midfield and for stepping up when really needed with an exquisite free-kick.

SIDS: Pope, Millins, Carrigher McCoy (Grantham), Leggatt, Reed, T Jefkins, Phillips, Bayley (Kelly), Bassil. Unused subs: Williams, J Jefkins, Pearce.