Bexhill United joint manager Ryan Light hailed the 'most satisfying' result of the football club's season so far.
The Pirates clinched a hard-earned 2-1 victory away to Saltdean United in Macron Store Southern Combination Football League Division One courtesy of goals from Gordon Cuddington and Corey Wheeler.
Light said: "It was the most satisfying result because of the (wet and windy) conditions, and their tactics to try and intimidate and bully us. It was a fantastic result."
Bexhill won 2-0 on the same ground in a Peter Bentley Challenge Cup tie two weeks previously, but Saltdean had strengthened since then with the signings of experienced trio Ollie Rowland, Ryan McBride and Matt Geard.
Bexhill again came out on top, though, and Light was full of praise for his players, who he said showed a different side to their game to come home with the three points.
"Just when you think you've seen everything this group's got to give, they go and do something like that," Light continued. "We know they can play nice football, but on Saturday they showed real grit, desire, determination and game management beyond their years."
Saltdean started strongly during the first 10 minutes, but Bexhill opened the scoring slightly against the run of play. Wayne Giles played a lovely ball through for Cuddington to round goalkeeper Erikson Aga and slot home from a tight angle at the end of a great run from midfield.
Bexhill's lead was short-lived, however, as Saltdean equalised in the 15th minute with a goal Light found disappointing from a defensive standpoint. Bexhill cleared the initial corner, but didn't work hard enough to stop the ball coming back in and Tyler Goatcher scored from six yards.
The game remained 1-1 at half time - a scoreline Light considered fair at that stage. Bexhill played into the very strong wind and driving rain during the second half, yet performed better than they did in the first.
Bexhill went back in front in the 54th minute. Wheeler, who had been playing on the left, popped up on the right and looped over a cross-cum-shot which crept in at the far post with Craig McFarlane close by.
A pattern developed thereafter where Saltdean would attack only for Bexhill to nick the ball off them and quickly break up the pitch. Aga denied Bexhill on three occasions from one-on-one situations and Jacob Shelton hit the inside of the post from an angle.
"Two-one flattered them; we probably could've had six or seven," added Light, who praised the 'exceptional' performance of Dan Rose in awful conditions for goalkeepers. "They didn't really create any real clearcut chances in the 90 minutes and we opened them up at will in the second half."
Bexhill: Rose; Robertson, Kidman, McFarlane, Ottley; Gouet (Barden), B. Trickett, Giles (Butchers), Cuddington, Wheeler; Shelton. Subs not used: Olujobi, A. Trickett.
* Bexhill will be back in action tonight (Tuesday) with a tough-looking Peter Bentley Challenge Cup second round clash away to a Shoreham side which has won its opening two Premier Division matches.
"We go there as massive underdogs with absolutely nothing to lose really," said Light, who will be without the injured Georges Gouet. "We've had a bit of a heavy schedule and with two games (coming up) over the Bank Holiday weekend, we will look to rotate the squad."
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