Season was ‘a massive success’, says Bexhill boss

Bexhill United celebrate scoring during their 3-1 win away to Langney Wanderers in March. Picture by Simon Newstead
Bexhill United celebrate scoring during their 3-1 win away to Langney Wanderers in March. Picture by Simon Newstead

Ryan Light described Bexhill United Football Club’s 2017/18 season as ‘a massive success’.

The Pirates will finish seventh in Macron Store Southern Combination League Division One - three places and 11 points better than last term.

Light, Bexhill’s manager, said: “We view the season as a massive success. Huge progress has been made on and off the pitch.

“We challenged the players before the season to improve every column in the league table - we’ve done that and some really. We wanted to improve the amount of wins, goals scored, goals conceded and get more points - and we’ve done that.

“It’s a really good platform for us to build on and improve again next year.”

Bexhill started well with 11 points from their first six games, all of which were away from home, but lost four of their five matches during a busy April, plus a Division One Challenge Cup semi-final.

“We started the season fast and we’ve limped over the line so to speak,” continued Light. “My personal target was 60 points and we fell five points short of that, but it’s quite clear to see where we lost those points. If you look at it as a whole, the season’s been a major success for us.”

Light singled out the 3-1 win away to runners-up Langney Wanderers in early March and the 5-1 victory at fifth-placed Wick during January as a couple of stand-out moments.

“There’s been lots of highlights and lots of positives,” he went on. “I think the away game at Langney Wanderers sticks out as a really good afternoon and the Wick 5-1 was probably the most fun we’ve had at a football match.

“Early in the season when we won 7-0 at Oakwood we weren’t sure how good that was at the time, but it was certainly an eye-opener as to how well we could play.”

Full-back Craig Ottley was Bexhill’s leading scorer with 10 goals and one wonders how the season might have panned out had forward Drew Greenall not snapped his Achilles tendon in early October. Greenall had already netted seven times by that point.

“That was a huge moment in our season because we couldn’t rectify it quickly enough,” Light added. “When we signed Jack McLean, Liam Foster and Zack McEniry that gave us a boost, but by then we’d already lost three or four weeks without Drew.

“I think if Drew had stayed fit he would’ve had around 20 goals. If you look at the three promoted sides, they’ve all got a player that’s scored 20 or even 30 goals and I think you need that in this league.”

Light expects to remain at the helm for a third season in 2018/19 and believes many of his players have reached a good age in their footballing careers.

“The young group we signed last year have really matured this year, but it was clear to see it was always going to be a three-year project,” Light said. “The squad will be a really good age next year - all around 21, 22. They’re a close-knit group and we won’t make many changes.

“We’ll learn from this year and make the changes we feel we need to make us more competitive in a couple of areas and progress again.”

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