A 114-MILE round trip is about as arduous as they come in the Sussex Senior Cup and it proved a bridge too far for Sidlesham on Tuesday night.
The Premier Division quality of hosts Eastbourne Town shone through in the closing stages of the first round.
For 78 minutes, the Division One side matched their hosts before three late goals, including two in stoppage time, gave Eastbourne a margin of victory that was harsh on the battling Sids.
Sidlesham were on the right end of late drama against East Sussex opponents last weekend when three goals in nine second-half minutes ended Hailsham Town’s unbeaten start to the season. The Sids got out in front early courtesy of a Ben Mepham goal only to be pegged back shortly after half-time.
Goals from Joe Grommett and Tommy Lee-Smith within the last ten minutes looked to have sealed it for the home side but they needed the cushion of a fourth, and a second from Grommett, after Hailsham pulled one back.
Another tough test lies ahead for Sidlesham this weekend as they travel back across the county to take on free-scoring Bexhill.
Selsey will be in the hat for the next round after a battling come-from-behind win against Premier Division Arundel.
The visitors looked like they would make their extra class count with a stunning opener ten minutes before the break. But the Seals regrouped and deservedly equalised just before the hour mark when Tom Jefkins confidently dispatched his penalty. The home side continued to push for a winner and were rewarded in the last-minute by Dan Bassil.
Bassil was also on target at the weekend in a six-goal thriller at Bexhill United. His opener was quickly doubled within 60 seconds by Remi Coates as Selsey threatened to run away with the game only for Bexhill to pull one back – all within the first 15 minutes.
A calm finish from Callum Dowdell reasserted the two-goal cushion but the visitors could not hold out and a disputed last minute penalty meant the spoils were shared.
Selsey face a daunting weekend trip to Vardeanians who are yet to taste defeat in the league this season. More early goals and more spoils were shared at Walton Lane where Bosham were held by
Upper Beeding in the Division Two clash on Saturday. The Robins trailed after 11 minutes but were level again within two as Alex Barnes evened the scores.
The club remain fourth from bottom after picking up only their fourth point of the season and travel to mid-table Littlehampton United tomorrow.