Bexhill United Football Club finally returned to action after a four-week lay-off with a victory yesterday (Saturday).
A brace of first half goals from Gordon Cuddington gave the Pirates a 2-1 win at home to Selsey and took them past the 50-point mark in Macron Store Southern Combination League Division One.
Bexhill manager Ryan Light said: “It was as comfortable a 2-1 as you’ll ever see. We’ve played a lot better, but we’ve also played worse and won bigger.
“On another day we probably could’ve scored at least five, but all in all we’re delighted with the three points.”
On a pitch which Light described as ‘bone dry’ (players were changing to moulded boots during the warm-up) despite all the recent rain, Bexhill started very well and were quickly carving out opportunities.
They took the lead with a well-worked goal after nine minutes. Jack McLean’s cross from the right found its way through to Cuddington, who buried a powerful header into the roof of the net from close range.
The game slowed down a bit after that and Selsey got back on terms from a corner. Cameron Corell got free of Bexhill midfielder Nathan Lopez and headed in unchallenged at the far post.
That goal seemed to burst Bexhill’s bubble somewhat and having controlled proceedings until that point, the play became more even.
Bexhill grabbed what proved to be the winner, though, in the 40th minute. Cuddington got in front of his marker at the near post to flick home a corner from Craig Ottley, who was making his 200th appearance for the club.
Bexhill ironed out a few things at half time and proceeded to produce one of their most dominant performances of the season during the second period, even if there were no further goals.
The game was played in Selsey territory and while home goalkeeper Dan Rose barely touched the ball, Bexhill spurned several chances to have widened their margin of victory.
Cuddington hit the goalkeeper from a one-on-one situation, McLean’s thunderbolt cannoned to safety off the goalkeeper’s elbow and Georges Gouet’s scuffed shot following Zack McEniry’s pull-back was cleared off the line. Several headers from set-pieces cleared the crossbar.
McLean and Lopez were excellent, Cuddington was rewarded for working his socks off with the two goals, and the back four - including Chris Rea outstanding on his return after several months out - were very sound.
Bexhill: Rose; Rea, McGuigan, McFarlane, Ottley; Gouet, Robertson, Lopez, Cuddington, McLean (Giles); McEniry. Subs not used: Butchers, Harffey, Cornelius.
Southern Combination League Division One top half (played-points): 1 LITTLE COMMON 29-76 (+71 goal difference), 2 Langney Wanderers 30-72 (+59), 3 Lingfield 28-61 (+47), 4 Ringmer 31-58 (+29), 5 BEXHILL UNITED 29-52 (+26), 6 Mile Oak 30-51 (+13), 7 Wick 29-50 (+28), 8 Selsey 28-40 (+2), 9 Hailsham Town 28-39 (-1).
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