Bexhill beaten as game ends 10-a-side

Bexhill United wide player Corey Wheeler wins a header against Lingfield this afternoon. Pictures by Simon Newstead
Bexhill United wide player Corey Wheeler wins a header against Lingfield this afternoon. Pictures by Simon Newstead

Having waited six weeks after the season began to start playing at home, Bexhill United Football Club is still searching for its first point at The Polegrove.

The Pirates suffered their third Macron Store Southern Combination Football League Division One home defeat out of three as they lost 3-0 to Lingfield today (Saturday) in a match which finished 10-a-side.

It was a bit of a day to forget for Bexhill as little went right for them against a Lingfield side which scored once in the first half and twice in the second for a well-deserved victory.

With Drew Greenall injured and Jamie Morgan suspended, the returning Gordon Cuddington was pushed forward from his usual midfield role to lead the line on a dull and blustery afternoon.

The opening half-an-hour was keenly contested but produced little goalmouth action at either end. Lingfield got on top during the final 15 minutes of the opening period and Scott Johnson headed wide of the far post at a corner just after Conor Wilford’s free kick was gathered by Dan Rose.

Bexhill fashioned their first real opportunity when a well-worked counter-attack involving Craig Ottley and Connor Robertson ended with Corey Wheeler being denied by Lingfield goalkeeper Olly Moore at his near post.

Bexhill midfielder Nathan Lopez goes in with his head as Samuel Clements, scorer of Lingfield's first goal, raises his boot.

Bexhill midfielder Nathan Lopez goes in with his head as Samuel Clements, scorer of Lingfield's first goal, raises his boot.

Rose made a good save low to his right from Richard Wetton’s shot seconds before Lingfield took a 43rd minute lead. A couple of headed flick-ons from the visitors led to Samuel Clements burying a powerful shot into the corner of the net.

Bexhill brought on Georges Gouet for Ryan Harffey at half time and with the wind behind them during the second period, would’ve been hopeful of finding a way back into the match. That hope was extinguished, however, by two more Lingfield goals within 12 minutes of the restart.

Lingfield went two-up in the 52nd minute. Chris Rea brought down Clements following a quickly taken free kick into the Bexhill area and Wetton rolled the resulting penalty into the bottom corner, sending Rose the wrong way.

Two became three just five minutes later. Wilford’s free kick from near the touchline on the left was spilled by Rose and Johnson turned home the loose ball.

Ryan Harffey on the ball for Bexhill.

Ryan Harffey on the ball for Bexhill.

After Lewis McGuigan made a great tackle on Wetton as he bore down on goal, Bexhill midfielder Kyle Holden was shown a straight red card for a 78th minute foul on a Lingfield player who had just nutmegged him. It was Holden’s second dismissal of the season.

Bexhill did at least keep going to the end and Craig McFarlane deserves a special mention for courageously hobbling through the last 25 minutes after picking up an injury when all three permitted substitutions had been made.

Ben Connolly’s shot sailed just over Bexhill’s crossbar before Moore safely gathered a low strike from distance by Nathan Lopez at the other end.

Bexhill had a golden opportunity to nab a consolation in the seventh minute of added time. After a discussion between referee and linesman, Lingfield substitute Alex Tuppen was given a straight red card for clashing with a Bexhill player as Rose launched a long free kick. Bexhill were awarded a penalty, but Kenny Butchers’ driven spot-kick was superbly saved by Moore.

Georges Gouet chests the ball down.

Georges Gouet chests the ball down.

Bexhill: Rose, Rea (Giles 58), Ottley (Butchers 61), McGuigan, McFarlane, Holden, Robertson, Lopez, Cuddington, Harffey (Gouet HT), Wheeler. Sub not used: Cornelius.