Bexhill fall to rare away defeat

Craig Ottley, Bexhill United's leading scorer, netted his ninth goal of the season in the 3-1 defeat at Mile Oak.
Craig Ottley, Bexhill United's leading scorer, netted his ninth goal of the season in the 3-1 defeat at Mile Oak.
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Bexhill United Football Club suffered only its second away league defeat of the season on Saturday.

The Pirates conceded three first half goals en route to a 3-1 loss against Mile Oak in Macron Store Southern Combination League Division One.

An old fashioned mudbath of a pitch made it very difficult for players to keep their footing and although it was never going to be the greatest spectacle, both teams did the best they could on it.

Bexhill took a while to get to grips with the surface and were slipping about quite a bit. They kept the ball quite well in the middle of the pitch and got it into wide areas, but never really got in behind Mile Oak.

The visitors probably had more of the possession, but tended to turn the ball over when they got into the final third and Mile Oak, with two speedy wide players, would break very quickly.

The goals Bexhill conceded were largely of their own making. They fell behind when Chris Rea’s attempted pass to Jack McLean went straight to a Mile Oak player, who ran forward and crossed for Enzo Benn to score with a free header.

Mile Oak doubled their lead as Jack Stenning was allowed to cut into the box from the home right far too easily and with no defenders coming across to him in time, he beat goalkeeper Dan Rose at his near post with the aid of a slight deflection.

Bexhill fell further behind before the break. The ball rolled under Connor Robertson’s foot in the centre circle as he tried to control a pass from Rea, Mile Oak broke and the ball was played to Stenning, who scored with a good finish which went in off the post.

Bexhill’s only real chance of the first half ended with a deflected shot by Jack McLean hitting the post.

Bexhill manager Ryan Light urged his players to win the second half. They were very good after the turnaround and dominated the play, albeit against a Mile Oak team which effectively had the game won.

The visitors passed the ball around quite well without really fashioning a great deal of clear opportunities, but they did pull a goal back. Craig McFarlane was brought down in the left-hand side of the area and Craig Ottley dispatched the resulting penalty into the top corner.

Other than that Bexhill were restricted mainly to half-chances, with the likes of Zack McEniry and McLean going close.

There was a comical moment at the other end. Rose slipped as he attempted to kick downfield following a back pass and the ball rolled under him towards goal. It seemed to be going in, but bobbled wide at the last moment.

Bexhill: Rose; Robertson, McFarlane, McGuigan, Ottley (Barden); Rea (Harffey), Cuddington, Foster, McLean (Wheeler), Gouet; McEniry.

Southern Combination League Division One top half (played-points): 1 LITTLE COMMON 19-49 (+45 goal difference), 2 Lingfield 19-41 (+34), 3 Langney Wanderers 18-41 (+33), 4 Wick 19-40 (+32), 5 BEXHILL UNITED 20-34 (+19), 6 Mile Oak 19-32 (+5), 7 Selsey 17-29 (+11), 8 Steyning Town 18-28 (+17), 9 Ringmer 19-27 (+10).