Bexhill suffer second successive home defeat

Bexhill United's Connor Robertson keeps a close eye on Hailsham Town wide player Harry Butler. Pictures by Simon Newstead
Bexhill United's Connor Robertson keeps a close eye on Hailsham Town wide player Harry Butler. Pictures by Simon Newstead

Bexhill United Football Club suffered a second home defeat in the space of five days.

The Pirates followed their 2-1 loss against Storrington on Saturday with a 3-1 reverse at the hands of Hailsham Town in Macron Store Southern Combination League Division One tonight (Wednesday).

Bexhill midfielder Nathan Lopez goes up for a header.

Bexhill midfielder Nathan Lopez goes up for a header.

On a cold but calm night at The Polegrove, Bexhill were two-down at half time and although they got one back through Liam Foster, a third Hailsham goal sealed their fate.

Bexhill started very positively, although Hailsham had the first real attempt when Danny Leach latched on to a ball through the inside left channel and brought a save out of home goalkeeper Dan Rose at his near post.

Hailsham survived a scare when defender Liam McCann just about got back to clear from near the goal-line having almost turned Foster’s left wing free kick into his own net.

Ashley Jarvis headed wide of the near post from a Hailsham corner and with the visitors getting on top, they opened the scoring in the 22nd minute. Peter Cooper’s low cross from the right-hand side of the area was turned home by strike partner Leach.

Bexhill wide player Georges Gouet in the thick of the action.

Bexhill wide player Georges Gouet in the thick of the action.

Bexhill then pushed Zack McEniry up-front from the back and Gordon Cuddington’s shot on the turn deflected wide before Craig McFarlane headed over from the resulting Foster corner.

McCann couldn’t keep his header down from Cooper’s free kick at the other end and Bexhill had a let-off when the diving Rose spilled Cooper’s low centre but Leach stabbed the rebound wide.

Bexhill’s deficit was doubled, however, in the 41st minute. Cooper’s shot was parried by Rose low to his left and Leach reacted quickest to tap home the loose ball.

After half time Hailsham looked comfortable until Cuddington half-volleyed over the crossbar from an inviting position following a clever flick by Nathan Lopez.

Bexhill pulled one back on the hour. Jack McLean made a terrific run down the right and squared the ball across the edge of the box to Foster, who took a couple of touches before driving into the bottom corner.

After Leach had a left-footed shot fairly comfortably saved by Rose following Harry Butler’s cutback, Hailsham restored their two-goal cushion in the 76th minute.

Rose tried to punch a corner from Hailsham’s left, but made little contact and one-time Bexhill midfielder Jarvis lifted the ball into the roof of the net from close range.

The contest rather petered out thereafter, although Bexhill did apply a bit of pressure towards the end without testing the goalkeeper. The closest they came to pulling one back was when substitute Corey Wheeler volleyed just wide following a corner.

Bexhill: Rose, McEniry (Giles 79), Lopez, McFarlane, McGuigan (Cornelius 83), Holden, Gouet (Wheeler 60), Foster, Robertson, Cuddington, McLean. Subs not used: Ottley, Harffey.

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 24-52 (+42), 4 Ringmer 26-45 (+17), 5 Wick 23-44 (+28), 6 Mile Oak 25-44 (+10), 7 BEXHILL UNITED 26-43 (+22), 8 Selsey 23-37 (+9), 9 Steyning Town 24-31 (+10).