Bexhill United Football Club conceded three goals in the first half-hour en route to its first cup defeat of the season on a wet and windy Tuesday night.
Macron Store Southern Combination Football League Division One side Bexhill went down 4-1 against Premier Division team Lancing in a home Sussex Principal RUR Charity Cup first round tie played at Hailsham Town FC.
Bexhill fielded another depleted side and manager Ryan Light admitted it was the worst they’ve started a game all season as they kicked into the strong wind during the first half.
Lancing, by contrast, made a lightning fast start and moved the ball quickly. Bexhill found it hard to get out and a couple of individual errors contributed to them being 2-0 down quite early.
Nathan Lopez lost possession around 20 yards from Bexhill’s goal and Alex Fair struck a powerful shot which whistled into the bottom corner for the opening goal.
Bexhill’s shape remained a bit ragged and Lancing doubled their advantage. The visitors got in behind Bexhill down their right and whipped the ball in for Elliot Finney to head home.
Bexhill weren’t close enough to Lancing anywhere on the pitch. The third goal came when a free kick hit the crossbar and Josh Clayman was the first of three Lancing players waiting to nod in the rebound.
Bexhill improved during the final 15 minutes of the first half and Corey Wheeler twice went through on goal. On one occasion he was probably fouled but stayed on his feet, and the other he couldn’t get the ball out of his feet quickly enough and the goalkeeper smothered.
For the first time this season Light felt the need to read the riot act at half time in the hope of sparking a reaction. Bexhill were duly much-improved after the break and play was much more even.
Lancing still mounted plenty of attacks, but Bexhill now enjoyed lots of possession and holes started opening up in what was a freeflowing contest despite the dreadful conditions.
Bexhill, unusually, conceded from a corner shortly before the hour to go 4-0 down. Alex Bygraves scored with a looping header at the far post which dropped slowly into the net, with Bexhill goalkeeper Dan Rose having come out a bit too far.
Kevin Barden came on as a substitute and stretched Lancing with his running in behind. Barden created a decent chance for himself, but elected to shoot from the right of goal rather than square for Ashley Kidman and missed the target.
Barden did get on the scoresheet, though, when he reacted quickest to a knockdown at a corner and stabbed the ball home.
“If we had started well and not conceded early, it would’ve been a good contest,” said Light. “As a contest it was over by half-an-hour.
“We want to win every game, but the league’s massively our priority. We’ve not got the squad to compete for six different trophies.”
Bexhill: Rose; Rea, McGuigan, McFarlane, Butchers; Robertson, Giles, Lopez; Kidman, Wheeler, Greenall (Barden). Sub not used: Cuddington.