Bexhill United Football Club was only able to field 10 players for its penultimate game of the season on Saturday.
A man down from the start, it was unsurprising therefore that the Pirates were soundly beaten by in-form opposition in Macron Store Southern Combination Football League Division One, losing 7-1 away to Sidlesham.
Bexhill manager Marc Munday said: “I text 31 people through the first team, under-21s and under-18s, and out of 31, we had a team of 12. I didn’t expect anything different to be honest.
“I received a text on Friday night which put us down to 11 and on Saturday morning another one pulls out so we’re looking at going down to Sidlesham with 10 men.
“At nine o’clock in the morning I’m picking up the under-18s manager and another three lads from Hastings so it was always going to be hard.”
Sidlesham took just five minutes to open the scoring through Tom Bayley, the man who netted the only goal in the reverse fixture at The Polegrove on Easter Saturday.
Bexhill hit back five minutes later, however, when Gordon Cuddington went through and was brought down for a penalty, which he tucked away himself.
Sidlesham went back in front after 25 minutes when Thomas Jefkins headed in from a corner and a Bayley penalty made it 3-1 at half time.
Bayley completed his hat-trick from a free kick soon after the restart and Jamie Smith added Sidlesham’s fifth with another penalty.
Jefkins scored the last two goals to claim a treble of his own as Sidlesham picked up their fourth victory in eight days.
“The boys who turned up gave it a shot and worked hard, and you can’t really complain at that,” added Munday, whose team did fashion a handful of chances but was unable to add to Cuddington’s early strike.
Bexhill: Osborne, Rai, Cruikshank, Mole, Ottley, Elliott-Noye, Cuddington, Davey, Holden, Shelton.
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