It has been a wonderful season for Haywards Heath but their hopes of the title to complete a memorable treble were dashed when they were held 1-1 at home by Barnham on Saturday.
Manager Simon Corless made no secret of how much he wanted to go up as champions but was full of praise for his squad: “They have been immense this season and while it was disappointing to miss out on the title, we know we’re now back as a senior club. The players took it really badly and I was pleased to see that as it shows they want to be winners.”
Things started so well for Blues as Jamie Wanstall gave them a 16th minute lead but Rich Boxall came up with a good equaliser five minutes before half time.
“We hit the post and missed from close range, and in the end know we should have beaten them, But that’s football and I was pleased the way the players approached the last game on Monday.”
Heath won 2-0 at Roffey to end up just a point behind Sidlesham, whom they beat three times this season.
Kieron Purkis struck after 10 minutes and Rick Peacock virtually sealed the win after 37 minutes.
Hurstpierpoint were as good on Saturday as they were bad on Monday although there were mitigating circumstances.
Manager Bill Clifford said of Saturday’s 2-1 win at Ifield:”2-1 flattered them.”
The hosts went ahead on 34 minutes through Aiden Cawte but Hurst were level three minutes later when Ed Barteam won a penalty that Simon Whitney converted.
The winner was an excellent team goal on 56 minutes when Bartram’s pull back was put in at the far post by Andy Webster.
It was a somewhat scratch side who lost the final game 3-0 at Uckfield on Monday to goals by Murray Heywood (36), Ross Porter (60) and Joe Miller (77).