Bexhill United Football Club twice came from behind to win a seven-goal thriller at home to Seaford Town on Saturday.
The Pirates recovered from 1-0 and 2-1 down to win 4-3 in Southern Combination League Division One via two Jamie Bunn penalties, and a goal each from Drew Greenall and Sammy Bunn.
Bexhill manager Ryan Light said: “It turned into a really good win and a really important three points. Every time we conceded, we went and scored, and that takes some doing - that was the biggest positive for me.
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“I think we just about edged it. Credit to Seaford; they gave it a real go and they’ve been one of the better sides we’ve played at The Polegrove this year.
“Thinking back to the away game we played against them (Bexhill won 7-1 in August’s reverse fixture), they’ve improved massively.”
Bexhill started on the front foot and looked to be controlling the play, but Seaford were always dangerous on the break with long balls up to their pacy forwards and they opened the scoring against the run of play.
An attempted clearance by Bexhill captain Craig McFarlane hit Seaford forward Jack Webber and rebounded towards Bexhill’s goal. McFarlane tried to recover, but Webber took a touch before slotting past goalkeeper Dan Rose.
Bexhill equalised with the first of their two penalties. Greenall did magnificently to get on the end of a great throughball by Liam Foster and round goalkeeper Jack Webb, who brought him down. Webb was booked for the foul, and with no Craig Ottley or Jack Shonk on the pitch, Jamie Bunn stepped up to take the spot-kick and confidently buried it into the bottom corner.
Bexhill went behind after conceding a goal which was of their own making. Rose came out of his goal and clattered through the back of McFarlane, who was going up for a header with an opponent. As McFarlane lay down injured, Webber chipped the ball into the net from around 40 yards with Rose unable to get back in time.
Bexhill levelled for a second time with by far the goal of the game. After Foster danced across the edge of the box and was fouled, Sammy Bunn clipped a sublime free kick with no pace but pinpoint accuracy over the defensive wall and into the top corner of the net. It was the first free kick Sammy Bunn had taken for Bexhill, but probably won’t be the last.
The home side then got in the ascendancy, with Jack McLean causing a lot of problems on the left. McLean went round three or four opponents having picked the ball up near halfway and although Webb got a touch to the ball, it fell to the feet of Greenall, who scored from a few yards out to give Bexhill the lead for the first time.
Pleased to be ahead at half time, Light felt Bexhill would kick on in the second period, as they usually do, but Seaford had other ideas and didn’t really let Bexhill out of their own half for quite a long spell. Bexhill did at least look quite dangerous when they broke and McLean whistled a few shots just wide.
Seaford made it 3-3 when a well-delivered free kick from wide on their left went in behind Bexhill’s defence and was met by a bullet header from Shaun Lee which flew past Rose into the net.
Bexhill enjoyed probably their best spell of the match after that and a moment of magic from McLean led to them being awarded their second penalty. McLean picked the ball up on the left and drove across the pitch before being brought down in mid-air for a clear spot-kick, which Jamie Bunn duly dispatched into the opposite corner to his first one.
Bexhill comfortably saw the match out thereafter, showing good game management to begin 2019 with a high scoring win.
“It was a very open, end-to-end game - probably the most open game we’ve had at home this year,” added Light. “I’ve never seen so much green grass, there was so much space everywhere.”
Bexhill: Rose; Holden, McGuigan, McFarlane, Lopez; Foster (Robertson), J. Bunn, S. Bunn; Gouet (Shonk), Greenall, McLean.
Southern Combination League Division One top half standings (played-points): 1 Steyning Town 19-47 (+31 goal difference), 2 BEXHILL UNITED 18-43 (+40), 3 Alfold 17-41 (+35), 4 AFC Varndeanians 18-38 (+26), 5 Selsey 18-31 (+16), 6 Hailsham Town 18-29 (+9), 7 Seaford Town 17-28 (0), 8 Littlehampton Town 18-26 (+1), 9 Wick 18-25 (-6).