Bexhill United Football Club was knocked out of the FA Vase after losing 2-0 in a match which was delayed due to the team coach suffering a burst tyre en route.
The Pirates travelled by coach as a one-off for their second round qualifying tie away to Cobham on Saturday, but one of the coach’s tyres exploded on the A23 just south of Crawley, leaving debris strewn across the road.
The driver pulled over to the side of the road and waited there for 10-15 minutes before limping to the nearby Pease Pottage Services. A mechanic then journeyed north from Newhaven to resolve the tyre issue and Bexhill finally arrived at the ground at around 3.10pm.
The referee put the kick-off back to 3.40pm, but despite only having time for a five-minute warm-up, Bexhill made what manager Ryan Light felt was probably their best start to a game this season.
Bexhill looked comfortable in possession and whenever they lost the ball, they were quick to win it back. Cobham were struggling to live with Bexhill and forward Drew Greenall, who was a real thorn in the hosts’ side, was winning free kick after free kick.
Bexhill fell behind completely against the run of play after 20 minutes. Cobham counter-attacked down the left and Toby Mbu cut into the box before squirming a shot past the outstretched leg of Bexhill goalkeeper Dan Rose into the far corner.
Going behind didn’t seem to faze Bexhill and they remained on top for the rest of a first half in which Rose only touched the ball once with his hands. But they didn’t really threaten Cobham’s goal.
Light felt Cobham edged the second period and the hosts doubled their advantage five minutes after the turnaround with another breakaway goal. The pacy Mbu squeezed a shot from an acute angle to the left of goal between Rose and the near post.
Bexhill, who were missing Craig Ottley, Ashley Kidman, Ryan Harffey and Gordon Cuddington, never really hit the heights of their first half display thereafter as the game turned a bit niggly, which helped Cobham preserve their lead.
“We were neat and tidy in midfield, but we never really got in behind them and never really looked like scoring,” added Light. “I can’t remember either ‘keeper making a save.
“The first goal was so important. If we had got it, I think we would’ve gone on. Two-nil massively flattered them and they knew that. Maybe a draw on the day everyone could’ve swallowed that.”
Bexhill: Rose; Robertson, McGuigan, McFarlane, Rea; Holden, Giles (Butchers), Lopez; Barden, Wheeler (Gouet), Greenall.