Bexhill United manager Ryan Light felt there was little between the sides after the football club was beaten 4-1 in the Buildbase FA Vase on Saturday.
The Southern Combination League Division One club lost away to Southern Counties East League Premier Division side Bearsted in first round qualifying for the national competition.
Light said: “I’m not too dissatisfied with our performance. 4-1 sounds like it’s been a really one-sided game and a bit of a hammering, but it really wasn’t. There was nothing really between the sides and 4-1 flatters them hugely.”
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On a fantastic pitch, Bexhill again started very well and pinned the opposition in their half early on. Bexhill were moving the ball well, and Jack McLean was beating opposing players and getting in behind.
The visitors were on the front foot and the team in the ascendancy until, not for the first time this season, falling behind after a quarter-of-an-hour. A rocket of a shot from 20 yards out and slightly to the right-hand side flew into the top corner.
The game became somewhat cat and mouse, with much of it taking place just inside Bearsted’s half, but the hosts went 2-0 up with a goal which stemmed from a Bexhill corner.
Bearsted broke at real pace and although Kyle Holden got back to make a tackle, the ball squirmed square past goalkeeper Dan Rose before being tapped into the net.
“There was a real belief at half time,” continued Light. “We had played so well and matched them in every department so we really felt there was still something in the game for us. We felt if we could get a goal, we could really turn the tie around.”
Bexhill had a real go during the second half and were camped in Bearsted territory for long spells, but were punished during their most dominant spells.
Having brought on Zack McEniry and Wayne Giles up-front, Bexhill were knocking on the door until conceding a third goal to another quick Bearsted break.
Bexhill lost possession having committed a few bodies forward, Bearsted then got in behind on the left before the ball was played across and headed in from two yards.
Bearsted made it 4-0 fairly late on, by which time Bexhill were a bit dead on their feet. Bexhill gave possession away, Bearstead got in and although Rose saved the first effort, the rebound was tucked away via the inside of the post.
Bexhill nabbed a deserved consolation with virtually the last kick of the game. A corner to the far post was knocked down and Nathan Lopez stabbed the ball home.
“The scoreline is a bitter pill to swallow,” added Light. “We more than matched them in every department. The difference between the two levels was that when we got chances, they three bodies across and blocked it, whereas they were clinical with their chances.”
Bexhill: Rose; Robertson, McGuigan, McFarlane, Ottley; Holden (S. Bunn), J. Bunn, Lopez; Shonk, Leach (McEniry), McLean (Giles).
Bexhill and Little Common will be in Peter Bentley Challenge Cup second round action away to Premier Division opposition tonight (Tuesday).
Bexhill are away to Hassocks, who they beat at the corresponding stage of last season’s competition, and Common will travel to Newhaven for the second time in a fortnight.
Light and Common player-manager Russell Eldridge have said they are likely to utilise their respective squads for tonight’s matches.