Bexhill United Football Club began its 2018/19 season with a defeat on what manager Ryan Light described as ‘a difficult day all-round’.
The Pirates were beaten 1-0 away to an Alfold side playing its first ever Southern Combination Football League Division One game on Saturday.
Light said: “It was just a difficult day all-round. It was a two-hour journey, the heat was just excruciating, and the game never really flowed with the drinks breaks and the ball going out the ground. It was a very bitty game.”
See also: * A real buzz around the club, says Bexhill boss
* Bexhill forced to play home games elsewhere
Bexhill, who gave starts to new signings Jamie Bunn and Allan McMinigal, started fairly well before seemingly starting to feel the pace during the second quarter.
Alfold grabbed what turned out to be the winner with a goal which came somewhat out of the blue after a quarter-of-an-hour. The ball was played in to Daniel Hallett, who spun and struck a half-volley into the corner of the net from just inside the box.
Bexhill thought they had equalised shortly afterwards. Jack McLean appeared to have come out on top in a challenge with the goalkeeper as he rushed out of his area and dribbled forward to score, but the referee - after some deliberation - penalised McLean for handball.
“We’ve played it back (on a video of the match) and it was a harsh handball,” said Light.
McLean flashed one effort just off target, but the visitors created relatively little during the first half as most of their throughballs down the slope seemed to run through to an Alfold goalkeeper who swept up very well.
Bexhill performed much better during the second period and got into some promising situations, but tended to over-complicate things in the final third, sometimes looking for an extra pass when they had the opportunity to shoot.
And whenever they did seem to build up some momentum, they were invariably checked by a break in play, the amount of which prompted the referee to play eight minutes of added time.
Nathan Lopez was denied by the goalkeeper when sliding in at the far post right at the death, while Bexhill goalkeeper Dan Rose had earlier pulled off a fantastic reflex save from a fairly rare Alfold forward venture during the second period.
Bunn enjoyed a good debut and showed plenty of quality, Kyle Holden was as industrious as ever and covered every blade of grass despite the heat, and Lopez gave Bexhill good energy off the bench.
Bexhill: Rose; Robertson (Giles), McGuigan, McFarlane, Ottley; Holden, Foster, Bunn; McMinigal (Lopez), Cuddington, McLean (Robinson).
Benefit from an ongoing discount on your Observer by joining our voucher membership scheme. Once you’ve subscribed, we’ll send you dated vouchers which can be exchanged for your paper at any news outlet. To save money on your Observer, simply click here (www.localsubsplus.co.uk)