Bexhill United Football Club suffered its first defeat of 2018 on a frustrating afternoon yesterday (Saturday).
The Pirates saw their four-match winning run ended by a disappointing 2-1 loss at home to Storrington in Macron Store Southern Combination League Division One.
On a wet and slippery pitch with heavy drizzle falling throughout, a Bexhill side which pulled off a superb 5-1 victory away to Wick the previous weekend never really got going and was beaten by two Storrington goals from outside the penalty area.
Even when they equalised 10 minutes into the second half, Bexhill conceded what proved to be the winner just two minutes later as they were beaten at The Polegrove for the first time since November 25.
Bexhill had the first real sight of goal when a Nathan Lopez header from Craig Ottley’s cross was gathered by Storrington goalkeeper Gary Elliott at the second attempt. Ollie Setchell then drove wide of the near post from the right-hand side of the area at the other end.
After a couple of important interventions from Bexhill defender Lewis McGuigan, a Lopez snap-shot was straight at Elliott and a goalbound effort from home forward Zack McEniry was blocked.
McGuigan headed Bexhill’s best chance of the first half wide of the near post from Ottley’s well-delivered corner. Storrington took the lead shortly afterwards when a Brad Lewis shot from 25 yards bounced into the bottom corner of the net.
The visitors almost doubled their lead a couple of minutes later, but Bexhill goalkeeper Dan Rose made a smart save low to his left after Josie Stakim had got goalside of the home defence.
Lewis shot just over early in the second half before Bexhill levelled in the 56th minute. A free kick from in front of the dugouts on the home right made its way through to Gordon Cuddington, whose cross-shot from a tight angle just to the right of goal was touched in by McGuigan.
Bexhill would’ve been hoping to kick on and find a winner thereafter, but they were swiftly behind again. Stakim turned away from McGuigan and struck a shot from 25 yards which Rose couldn’t keep out low to his left.
The rest of the game was played mainly in Storrington territory, but Bexhill lacked the creative spark to break down a visiting side which defended well and played some good football when in possession.
The closest Bexhill came to an equaliser was right at the end when Ottley’s free kick from five yards outside the box was beaten out by Elliott. Prior to that, Ottley sent another free kick just wide and had a deflected shot comfortably held by the goalkeeper.
At the other end, Kyle Holden headed off the line following a Storrington corner and Lewis brought a couple of saves out of Rose, firstly with a shot from 25 yards and then with an effort from the left-hand side of the area.
Bexhill: Rose, Robertson, Ottley, McFarlane, McGuigan, Holden, Gouet (Wheeler), Lopez (Cornelius 81), McEniry, Cuddington, McLean. Sub not used: Rea.
Southern Combination League Division One top half (played-points): 1 LITTLE COMMON 26-67 (+63 goal difference), 2 Langney Wanderers 24-57 (+42), 3 Lingfield 23-49 (+40), 4 Ringmer 26-45 (+17), 5 Wick 23-44 (+28), 6 Mile Oak 25-44 (+10), 7 BEXHILL UNITED 25-43 (+23), 8 Selsey 23-37 (+9), 9 Steyning Town 24-31 (+10).
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