‘Outstanding’ Bexhill put five past promotion hopefuls

Jack McLean scored two of Bexhill's five goals in the victory over Wick.
Jack McLean scored two of Bexhill's five goals in the victory over Wick.

Ryan Light praised a ‘quite astonishing’ second half performance as his Bexhill United football team crushed Wick 5-1 away from home.

The Pirates scored four goals without reply after the break to achieve probably the stand-out result in Macron Store Southern Combination League Division One on Saturday.

Bexhill manager Light said: “In terms of second half performances, it was up there with our best of the season. I was absolutely delighted and it was a really proud day for the football club.

“The second half was quite astonishing. We were outstanding for 45 minutes. We dominated from the first whistle to the last and we took our chances. We got on the front foot and where the pitch was a mudbath, we were so sharp to every ball.

“Craig Ottley was unbelievable in the second half. It was probably the best half of football he’s ever played for the club, he was dictating everything from left-back.”

The result was made even more impressive by the fact that Bexhill were missing a handful of players and only possessed two substitutes for a match played on a pitch which started out fairly green but by the end had turned to mud everywhere.

“Everybody really stepped up to the plate and delivered a memorable performance in difficult conditions,” added Light. “It was an outstanding performance, especially in the second half.”

Bexhill started the match with a 3-5-2 formation, which Light admitted was a mistake as the wet conditions weren’t really conducive to playing with wing-backs.

Fourth-placed Wick opened the scoring when a nice little sequence of passes cut Bexhill open through the middle and Kieron Playle-Howard slid a simple finish under goalkeeper Dan Rose.

Light switched to a 4-3-3 system as soon as the ball hit the net and Bexhill seemed to be able to get hold of the ball a bit better thereafter.

The middle part of the first half became fairly even. Wick weren’t really getting in behind Bexhill any longer and the visitors carved out a couple of half-chances, one of which was headed wide by Zack McEniry.

Bexhill started to get the bit between their teeth and finished the half strongly, equalising right on the stroke of half time through Kyle Holden’s first goal of the season.

After Gordon Cuddington was denied in a challenge with the home goalkeeper, Bexhill kept the move alive and Holden struck a low 20-yard shot which curved perfectly into the corner via the inside of the post. Holden became Bexhill’s 18th different scorer this term.

To go in at the break on level terms was a massive boost to Bexhill and they proceeded to completely dominate throughout the second period.

Bexhill took command with two goals in as many minutes just after the hour. They hit the front when Holden picked the ball up in midfield and played a lovely pass to put McEniry through and he coolly chipped it over the goalkeeper as he came out.

The visitors’ third goal arrived very quickly afterwards. The ball was threaded through to Jack McLean on the right and he got inside the full-back before finishing excellently on the angle.

A relentless Bexhill were passing the ball well and finding lots of gaps, with wide players McLean and Georges Gouet becoming increasingly influential.

McLean added his second and Bexhill’s fourth when he got the ball on the left, cut inside, went across the edge of the box and beat a second defender before unleashing a fantastic strike into the top corner, putting the outcome beyond doubt.

Bexhill took off Craig McFarlane, who liked Lewis McGuigan was covered head to toe in mud, and his replacement, Wayne Giles, came off the bench to score for the second game running.

After a couple of half-chances, Giles went in with the goalkeeper and got the benefit of the ricochet, went past the goalkeeper and stroked the ball into an empty net with a covering defender close behind.

Bexhill: Rose; Robertson, McGuigan, McFarlane (Giles), Ottley; Holden, Cuddington, Harffey; Gouet (Wheeler), McEniry, McLean.

Southern Combination League Division One top half (played-points): 1 LITTLE COMMON 24-61 (+56 goal difference), 2 Langney Wanderers 24-57 (+42), 3 Lingfield 23-49 (+40), 4 Wick 23-44 (+28), 5 Mile Oak 24-44 (+11), 6 BEXHILL UNITED 24-43 (+24), 7 Ringmer 25-42 (+16), 8 Selsey 22-37 (+11), 9 Steyning Town 23-31 (+15).

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