Bexhill upset leaders to halt winless run
Bexhill United’s footballers ended a winless run stretching back to August by defeating table-topping opposition.
The Pirates won 2-1 at home to Macron Store Southern Combination Football League Division One leaders Storrington on Saturday - their first victory at The Polegrove this season.
Goals in the last 10 minutes of the first half from Dan Cruikshank and Sam Cooper put Bexhill in charge, and they withstood considerable second half pressure to hold on for three much-needed points.
Although without the likes of Jack Aston and Nathan Tudor, Bexhill welcomed back key duo Andy Atkin and Andy Garman. They performed well during the first half, playing some good football at times when they had the ball and working hard to win it back when they didn’t.
There was little goalmouth incident until Bexhill opened the scoring in the 38th minute. Craig Ottley’s well-delivered inswinging corner was headed against the crossbar by Jack Woodward from close range and centre-half Cruikshank hooked home the rebound.
Woodward almost forced home another Ottley corner moments later and Bexhill doubled their advantage in the second minute of added time. Cooper drove a free kick from the edge of the D into the bottom corner, although Storrington defender Sam Elliott seemed convinced he hadn’t fouled Atkin in the build-up.
Atkin headed over from another Ottley corner as Bexhill remained on the front foot at the start of the second period. They spent the bulk of the last 35 minutes defending as legs perhaps tired and they couldn’t retain the ball as well as they had before the break, but they did so doggedly, winning their headers and making important blocks.
Storrington’s first real chance of the match came in the 57th minute. After a slip by Bexhill goalkeeper Yankuba Camara, Joseph Stakim hit the post from a tight angle and the rebound ended up in the side-netting amid confident but unsuccessful shouts for a penalty.
Camara made a good save low to his right from Joe Warner’s angled drive before Ottley produced an important block from Stakim’s shot and Gary Peters sent an angled drive just beyond the far post.
Storrington got one back in the 75th minute. Ross Fraser’s low cross from the away right was turned into his own net by Cooper, who in fairness enjoyed an otherwise decent game in the Bexhill backline.
Despite seeing plenty of the ball, Storrington didn’t really create a clearcut chance thereafter. John Rhodie’s chip from the edge of the box was just about held by Camara under his crossbar and Iain Jarvie blasted over from similar range in their best moments.
At the other end, Bexhill manager Marc Munday, Woodward and Garman had long range efforts saved fairly comfortably as the home side turned a couple of encouraging performances over the previous week into a victory.
Bexhill: Camara, A. Cooper, Ottley, Elliott-Noye, Cruikshank, Munday, Garman, Woodward, Burgon (A. Tudor 62), Atkin (Westbrook 80), S. Cooper. Sub not used: Porter.
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