Bexhill United’s footballers saw a 2-0 lead turn into a 4-2 defeat away to Midhurst & Easebourne on Saturday.
First half goals from Gordon Cuddington and Connor Robertson couldn’t prevent the Pirates’ run of back-to-back Macron Store Southern Combination Football League Division One wins coming to an end.
On a mudbath of a pitch and in constant snowfall, Midhurst made the better start. Bexhill defended well, though, and debutant goalkeeper Connor Holland made a really good save at his near post.
Bexhill looked dangerous every time they got into the final third, though, and Jacob Shelton went close with a sharp turn and volley, which flashed just over.
The visitors took the lead in somewhat fortunate fashion. Cuddington chased down a back pass and the goalkeeper’s kick struck him on the back before rebounding into the net.
Bexhill then started to play some quite nice football considering the surface and scored a brilliant second goal. A move of 10 or 11 passes down the left with Craig Ottley and Corey Wheeler linking up well ended with Robertson applying a deft flick into the far corner.
The visitors looked fairly comfortable until Midhurst, crucially, pulled one back on the stroke of half time. A free kick into the box was headed into the bottom corner by the unmarked Lewis Hamilton.
Bexhill, nonetheless, enjoyed probably their best spell of the match in the first 10 minutes of a second period in which they kicked down the slope.
Kyle Holden and Cuddington were excellent in midfield, but a wicked bobble caused Cuddington to miskick a simple pass straight to Midhurst’s Gary Norgate, who ran through and scored.
The tackles were getting heavier and Bexhill joint manager Ryan Light was sent to the stand after what he considered a clear foul on Georges Gouet wasn’t given.
With all three of their substitutes carrying injuries and not risked as a result, Bexhill started to tire on the heavy surface. Midhurst hit the front when a ball was drilled in from the left and although Holland got a hand to it, Norgate squeezed his shot past the defenders on the line.
Midhurst had Oliver Lee sent-off for picking up a second yellow card, but added a fourth goal when Norgate fizzed a lovely shot into the top corner to complete his hat-trick.
Bexhill: Holland; Butchers, Kidman, McFarlane, Ottley; Robertson, Holden; Gouet, Cuddington, Wheeler; Shelton.
Southern Combination League Division One top seven (played-points): 1 Saltdean United 26-59, 2 East Preston 25-58, 3 LITTLE COMMON 26-56, 4 Mile Oak 27-56, 5 Steyning Town 28-53, 6 Lingfield 25-45, 7 BEXHILL UNITED 28-37.
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