Bexhill denied by last gasp leveller

Bexhill United's footballers were denied a first victory since November by a last gasp equaliser on Saturday.

Tuesday, 17th January 2017, 5:44 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th June 2018, 10:22 pm
Corey Wheeler on the ball for Bexhill United against Oakwood. Picture courtesy Jon Smalldon

The Pirates had led for more than an hour through Drew Greenall’s first half strike, and despite being reduced to 10 men midway through the second half, looked like picking up a very welcome win until conceding right at the death.

But the 1-1 draw at home to Oakwood did at least end Bexhill’s run of six successive Macron Store Southern Combination Football League Division One defeats.

Bexhill made their best start to a match all season and spent all of the opening eight minutes in Oakwood territory.

Things get heated early on at The Polegrove. Picture courtesy Jon Smalldon

“I don’t think I’ve ever watched a game that’s been like that,” said Bexhill joint manager Ryan Light. “They couldn’t get out of their half.”

The hosts duly opened the scoring with a beautifully worked goal. Corey Wheeler picked the ball up in the middle of the pitch and played it out to the left, from where Wayne Giles delivered a first time cross which was swept home by the left boot of Greenall.

After the goal Bexhill allowed Oakwood to get into the game a bit more as they stopped pressing like they had been. Oakwood fashioned a couple of half chances and it became more of an even game.

The second half began in similar fashion to how the first ended with both sides having a bit of the ball, but Bexhill not feeling unduly concerned.

Georges Gouet challenges an Oakwood opponent. Picture courtesy Jon Smalldon

Bexhill’s task was made more difficult when central defender Ashley Kidman was shown a second yellow card for a foul midway inside Oakwood’s half having picked up his first booking in the opening 10 minutes following a scuffle with an opponent.

Kieron Purkis headed straight into the arms of Dan Rose, while at the other end, Wayne Giles was denied by a last ditch block from Oakwood defender Toby Gilbert as he was about to pull the trigger at the end of a great run into the box.

Alfie Slark’s firm shot from the left-hand corner of the box was well held by Rose, but on the whole Bexhill looked fairly comfortable, despite their numerical disadvantage.

There was to be a late sting in the tail, though. Paul Johnston’s cross from near the byeline on Oakwood’s right hit the crossbar before being cleared.

Nathan Lopez tussles for possession. Picture courtesy Jon Smalldon

Bexhill never completely got the ball to safety, however, and when it was crossed back in, it fell kindly for Jack Norse, whose shot from inside the area deflected into the net.

Light added: “If we had scored a second at any stage I think that would’ve been it. We’re struggling to get over that finish line.

“We seem to not be able to keep the ball very well when we lose a man and invite teams on to us.”

Bexhill: Rose, Butchers, Ottley, Kidman, McFarlane, Holden, Gouet, Lopez, Greenall (Shelton), Giles, Wheeler. Subs not used: Hammond, Miah, Perez, Kane.

Bexhill United are dejected after conceding a last gasp equaliser. Picture courtesy Jon Smalldon

See our comprehensive sports coverage in the Observer every Friday.

Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.

Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be amongst the first to know what’s going on.

1 Make this website your homepage

2 Like our Facebook page at Follow us on Twitter @SportSussex

4 Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.

And do share with your family and friends - so they don’t miss out!