Bexhill aim to rediscover form at the Withdean

Bexhill United manager Ryan Light is hoping a trip to the former home of Brighton & Hove Albion can kick-start a return to form.

Friday, 29th September 2017, 5:17 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th June 2018, 9:45 pm
Bexhill United full-back Chris Rea nods the ball out of play against Langney Wanderers on Wednesday night. Pictures by Simon Newstead

The Pirates will face AFC Varndeanians at the Withdean Stadium tomorrow (Saturday) eager to end a run of three defeats in their last four Macron Store Southern Combination Football League Division One matches.

Light said: “We’ve now lost to Steyning, Mile Oak and Langney, and we need to set ourselves a target of three back-to-back wins to rectify what’s happened in those games. We’re going to go to the Withdean and try to get the result, which we think we’re more than capable of doing.

“We’ve got to start winning back-to-back games. We can’t win a game, lose a game and show that inconsistency we had last year.”

Jamie Morgan brings the ball under control

Bexhill’s latest setback was a 4-2 defeat at home to Langney Wanderers on Wednesday night, although Light felt the dismissal of Jamie Morgan late in the first half - when the score was 1-1 - had a significant bearing on the outcome.

The attacking player was shown a straight red card following an aerial challenge with an opponent inside Langney’s penalty area.

“I think it was pivotal to the way the match ended to be fair,” he continued. “I didn’t see it, but our player’s said he didn’t even get to him let alone elbow him. It’s the biggest moment in the game and it’s hard to play 50 minutes with 10 men.

“I can’t fault their workrate with 10 men; I thought they (the players) put a real shift in. I don’t think we did too much wrong outside of the goals we conceded.”

Wayne Giles pressurises a Langney Wanderers opponent.

Light, in fact, was disappointed with all of the goals Bexhill let in and felt the second goal, which came less than two minutes into the second half, was particularly damaging.

“We said at half time ‘tick down some minutes’ and we were still confident with 10 men,” added Light, who described Corey Wheeler as ‘magic’ after coming on as a second half substitute. “But we conceded two really soft goals (to go 3-1 behind) and the fact we had 10 men was irrelevant (to those goals).

“The second goal was a killer for us so soon after half time. It was like a double whammy (after the red card). The fact that we had 10 men really got to us mentally.”

Light had been reasonably content with the way the game was going until the red card, even though Ryan Harffey’s opener had been cancelled out by a Shane Saunders leveller for Langney.

“I thought they came out the blocks quickly,” said Light. “We played a new system and I knew it would take us a little bit of time to find our feet. They’re always good going forward Langney, but after about a quarter-of-an-hour we got a real foothold in the game.

“After we went 1-0 up we had some really good chances to almost put the game to bed. You’ve got to take those chances and we didn’t.

“Even at 1-1 every time we went forward we looked quite dangerous and you kind of expected the ball to end up in the back of the net. I think the sending-off really knocked the stuffing out of us.”

Georges Gouet should return to the squad for tomorrow’s match, but Gordon Cuddington remains unavailable.

Bexhill will begin a trio of consecutive midweek away cup matches by making the long trip to Broadbridge Heath in round one of the Parafix Sussex Senior Challenge Cup on Tuesday night.