Bexhill United's footballers endured a nightmare start to the new year with their biggest defeat of the season.
A below strength Bexhill side was hammered 8-1 at home to an impressive Langney Wanderers team in Macron Store Southern Combination Football League Division One on Monday.
The Pirates were missing three of their regular back four and it certainly showed as they were torn apart at times by the quality of Langney's attacking play, and in particular the excellence of Nathan Crabb and former Bexhill player Paul Rogers.
Crabb set the ball rolling in only the third minute. Paul Weatherby pounced on a poor touch by Jacob Shelton and although his shot was half-saved by Bexhill goalkeeper Dan Rose, Crabb tapped in the loose ball.
Weatherby struck the inside of the post from distance shortly afterwards, but Bexhill responded quite well to that early setback and a Wayne Giles free kick from 30 yards brought a scrambling save out of Graham Leach in the away goal.
Langney began to stamp their authority, though, and Rose used his feet to save from Ben Billings at the far post before the visitors went two-up in the 23rd minute. Crabb got away down Langney's right and his cross was turned into his own net by Steve Willis at the near post.
Langney were in complete control for the rest of the first half and might well have added to their tally. Rogers had a goalbound volley well blocked by Willis and then shot wide from an inviting position, while Crabb drilled one effort just too high and another narrowly wide.
Billings also shot just wide and at the other end, Shelton - by now playing in a more familiar position up-front after Drew Greenall went off injured - fired home from outside the box only to be flagged offside.
The third goal Langney had been threatening arrived barely 80 seconds after half time. A Billings cross from the left was chested down by Crabb and Shane Saunders neatly slotted into the bottom corner.
Bexhill rallied well after that and proceeded to enjoy their best spell of the match. Georges Gouet flashed a shot inches over and Shelton glanced Craig Ottley's cross into the far corner, but was again denied by the offside flag.
Shelton finally did get one to count in the 58th minute. After Willis made an important intervention at one end, Bexhill went straight down the other and Shelton pulled one back with a fine left-footed finish into the bottom corner.
A breathless period of action continued as Crabb rounded Rose only to see his shot cleared off the line by Willis and Weatherby subsequently fired into the side-netting, while Bexhill had a penalty appeal turned down.
Langney effectively put the game to bed with a fourth goal in the 64th minute. Rogers played a good ball through to Crabb, who placed a splendid left-footed finish across Rose into the far bottom corner.
The visitors - whose line-up included former Polegrove favourites Josh Elliott-Noye and Nathan Tudor - ran away with it thereafter, scoring their next three goals in the space of just six minutes.
Crabb completed his hat-trick by controlling a Rogers throughball on his chest and rounding Rose before rolling the ball home. Only a minute later, Weatherby added Langney's sixth with a very well executed volley into the far corner.
Rogers got the goal his approach play merited just four minutes after that, heading Crabb's left wing cross into the corner of the net.
Bexhill substitute Nathan Lopez was desperately unlucky to see a shot from outside the box hit both posts before coming out. Langney then completed the rout in the 89th minute, Rogers scoring with a terrific header from Gianluca Del-Gaudio's long free kick into the box.
Bexhill: Rose, Shelton, Ottley (Hammond 74), Robertson, Willis, B. Trickett, Gouet, Giles (Lopez 77), Greenall (Butchers 31), Cuddington, Wheeler. Subs not used: A. Trickett, Kane.
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