Bexhill left to rue costly red card in Vase loss

Bexhill United skipper Billy Trickett heads clear from a Holmesdale corner. Picture courtesy Alan Coomes
Bexhill United skipper Billy Trickett heads clear from a Holmesdale corner. Picture courtesy Alan Coomes

Bexhill United Football Club joint manager Nigel Kane was left to rue a costly red card in Saturday's FA Vase defeat.

The Pirates had come from behind to lead 2-1 when Wayne Giles was sent-off for a second bookable offence and they were eventually beaten 3-2 away to Holmesdale.

"We lost our discipline and that's what cost us the game," said Kane. "We had actually spoken about discipline at half time and I had mentioned 'if we kept our discipline, we would have a good chance of progressing'.

“They weren’t a bad side and caused us lots of problems in the first half, but we clawed our way back into the game and were just undone by a moment of madness.”

With Bexhill having picked up 10 points from six games in Macron Store Southern Combination Football League Division One and Holmesdale 14 from seven in the equivalent-standing Southern Counties East Football League Division One, a close contest looked on the cards and that was exactly how it turned out.

Kane admitted that Bexhill were second best during the first half and were probably slightly fortunate to just be one goal down at the break. That goal came from what Kane considered 'quite a contentious' penalty and Bexhill were unsuccessful with an appeal for a spot-kick of their own.

Kyle Holden seeks to escape the attentions of a Holmesdale opponent. Picture courtesy Mark Killy

Kyle Holden seeks to escape the attentions of a Holmesdale opponent. Picture courtesy Mark Killy

Bexhill were much-improved after the turnaround, though, and Kane felt they were probably the better side during the second period of a first round qualifying match switched to Holmesdale because The Polegrove was still in the hands of Bexhill Cricket Club.

After goalkeeper Dan Rose superbly saved a second Holmesdale penalty, a fantastic goal from new signing Matt Cunnington on his debut got Bexhill back on level terms in the 58th minute.

They then took the lead with a very good team goal 16 minutes later. Georges Gouet fed Gordon Cuddington down the right and he slipped the ball past the goalkeeper.

But it started to unravel for Bexhill after Giles was shown a second yellow card for a tackle, although it was his first booking for dissent after another penalty appeal was turned down that Kane found more disappointing.

Gordon Cuddington scores Bexhill's second goal. Picture courtesy Alan Coomes

Gordon Cuddington scores Bexhill's second goal. Picture courtesy Alan Coomes

To add to the frustration, Bexhill were about to substitute Giles just before he was dismissed and Holmesdale equalised immediately afterwards.

With the momentum now firmly in their favour, Bromley-based Holmesdale went on to grab a winner and set up a home tie against Banstead Athletic in second round qualifying on Saturday September 24.

Kyle Holden slotted in at full-back for Bexhill in the absence of key man Connor Robertson and was comfortably the team's best player, according to Kane. Other new recruits Brandon Miah and Nick Cox were among the substitutes.

Bexhill: Rose; Holden, McFarlane, Kidman, Ottley; B. Trickett; Gouet, Giles, Cuddington, Cunnington; Shelton. Subs: A. Trickett, Wheeler, Miah, Cox, Butchers.

Bexhill United captain Billy Trickett and full-back Kyle Holden keep a close eye on a Holmesdale opponent. Picture courtesy Mark Killy

Bexhill United captain Billy Trickett and full-back Kyle Holden keep a close eye on a Holmesdale opponent. Picture courtesy Mark Killy