Bexhill United’s footballers were beaten 4-1 away to title-chasing Haywards Heath Town on Saturday.
The Pirates were in the Macron Store Southern Combination Football League Division One game for a long time before succumbing to three goals in the closing 35 minutes.
Heath were bidding for an 11th consecutive league victory, and had the benefit of the wind and slope during the first half. They missed a great chance to open the scoring when debutant Bexhill goalkeeper Elliot Stokes parried the initial shot and the rebound was put over the crossbar from close range.
The home side did take the lead, however, on 18 minutes. A mishit effort from the edge of the box fell to a Heath player, who laid the ball back for Jamie Weston to find the net.
Heath were whiskers away from doubling their advantage when a crip angled drive struck the base of the far post. Bexhill looked quite dangerous from the occasional break and equalised on the half-hour.
Kevin Barden did well to deliver a cross from the right and manager Marc Munday’s close range header had just too much on it for the goalkeeper to keep out. Having not scored for a couple of seasons, Munday now has two goals in Bexhill’s last two games.
It remained 1-1 at half time thanks largely to a fine save from Stokes when Heath looked set to retake the lead. Bexhill had the conditions in their favour after the turnaround and pinned Heath in their own half for the opening 10 minutes.
But Heath struck with their first real attack of the second half on 57 minutes. A low cross from the left was dummied at the near post and fired home by the left boot of Max Miller, who clashed with Bexhill defender Sam Cooper in the immediate aftermath of the goal.
Heath showed their quality thereafter and bossed the final half-hour. They went 3-1 up on 75 minutes when a cross from the right was flicked on by a Bexhill head and Callum Saunders scored with a terrific side-foot volley which Stokes got a hand to low to his right but couldn’t keep out.
Heath added a fourth goal five minutes later as they moved up to third in the table with games in hand. Rob O’Toole ran clear of the Bexhill defence and rounded Stokes before tapping into the net.
Bexhill: Stokes; A. Cooper (A. Tudor), S. Cooper, Cruikshank, Ottley (Burgon); Aston, Elliott-Noye, Munday; Barden, Garman, Pestana.
Highlights courtesy Haywards Heath Town FC.
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