Bexhill United ‘a little bit of a machine at the moment’

Bexhill United midfielder Liam Foster keeps a close eye on the Southwick player in possession last weekend. Picture by Derek Martin Photography
Bexhill United midfielder Liam Foster keeps a close eye on the Southwick player in possession last weekend. Picture by Derek Martin Photography

Bexhill United are a ‘little bit of a machine at the moment’, according to manager Ryan Light as the football club prepares for a big week on two fronts.

The Pirates will host Billingshurst in Southern Combination League Division One tomorrow (Saturday, kick-off 3pm) before travelling to Alfold for a Division One Challenge Cup quarter-final on Tuesday (kick-off 7.30pm).

Light said: “We’re playing the best football we’ve played all year. Hopefully it’s the right time of year to hit a bit of form. I’m pretty confident in the fact that we’re a little bit of a machine at the moment. We’re relentless at the moment and a joy to watch.”

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Last weekend’s 4-0 win away to Southwick has kept Bexhill third in the league - one point behind second-placed Alfold having played an extra game and six adrift of leaders Steyning Town.

“There will be twists and turns to come - and it could happen any week in any game - we just don’t want to let there be a week when we slip up,” continued Light. “We’ve just got to carry on the consistency, keep picking points up and then who knows.”

Bexhill are the highest scorers in the division with 64 goals in 21 league matches and their +43 goal difference is better than any other team.

The Pirates are seven places and 20 points above tomorrow’s opponents, and have beaten Billingshurst twice already this season, including a 7-2 Sussex Senior Challenge Cup first round victory away from home in early October.

But Light is expecting a more difficult encounter this time against a Billingshurst team which had won four consecutive matches before being edged out 3-2 at home to Alfold last weekend.

“Saturday’s going to be a lot tougher than people might think,” said Light, whose team is yet to drop a point against anybody outside the top five. “Billingshurst are on a really good run of form, they’re one of the form teams in the league and it will be a totally different kettle of fish to when we beat them 7-2 in the cup.

“They’ve picked up a lot since then and it will be a stern test for us, but we’re on possibly our best run of form in terms of the football we’re playing all season.”

After tomorrow Bexhill will turn their attentions to the divisional cup clash against an Alfold side which beat them 1-0 twice in the league, including at The Polegrove on January 8.

At stake for the winners is a semi-final meeting with Southwick or Steyning.

“Logistically it’s a nightmare of a game for us,” added Light. “With players not finishing work until 5.30, 6pm, it’s going to be very difficult to get through rush hour traffic to Alfold (on the Surrey/West Sussex border). Hopefully we’ll roll our sleeves up and give it a good go.

“It’s nice to have a different focus and a one-off game. There was nothing between the sides when we played two weeks ago and we expect to give a good account of ourselves. I shouldn’t imagine they will be relishing playing us so soon after that game.”

Jack Shonk, Chris Rea and Georges Gouet are expected to return to a pretty much full strength Bexhill squad for tomorrow’s game.

Southern Combination League Division One top four (played-points): 1 Steyning Town 21-53 (+36 goal difference), 2 Alfold 20-48 (+37), 3 BEXHILL UNITED 21-47 (+43), 4 AFC Varndeanians 20-42 (+28).