Bexhill halt rivals' long unbeaten run
Bexhill United's footballers inflicted a first league defeat on Mile Oak for two-and-a-half months.
A goal in either half from Gordon Cuddington and Ashley Kidman gave the Pirates a 2-1 victory at home to a Mile Oak side which began Saturday's game second in the table.
Mile Oak pinned Bexhill in a bit during the opening 20 minutes, but Bexhill were nice and compact, and had an air of confidence about them following their cup victory over Seaford Town four days earlier.
The visitors didn't really penetrate the Bexhill defence very much and Bexhill looked dangerous on the break, probably more so than Mile Oak did.
Bexhill were the better side during the second quarter of the Macron Store Southern Combination Football League Division One contest and they had a couple of long range efforts before opening the scoring with an exquisite goal.
A good bit of football led to a ball being played out to Corey Wheeler on the left and he delivered a delightful cross for Cuddington to score with a textbook header back where it had just come from into the far corner.
Bexhill remained one-up at half time and felt fairly comfortable, although Mile Oak played with a very high intensity which the hosts needed to match.
Bexhill performed even better during the second half and were fantastic on the counter-attack. They did, however, choose the wrong options at times when in great positions, Wayne Giles losing out to the goalkeeper when Cuddington was free in the middle being a case in point.
A few chances went begging for Bexhill around the midway point in the half, but in the end they did double their advantage through a lovely goal by Ashley Kidman.
The central defender brought the ball out from the back, went down the right, knocked the ball past the full-back and used his pace to make up around five yards on the next defender before drilling a shot - which may have taken a slight deflection - into the far corner.
Having seemed firmly in charge, all of a sudden Bexhill started to wobble as Mile Oak went through the gears in search of a route back into the match.
A lot of balls were delivered into the home penalty box, but Bexhill defended well and Craig McFarlane seemingly got his head to everything.
George Legg, who travelled from Portsmouth University to make his Bexhill debut with regular goalkeeper Dan Rose on Sussex under-18 duty, made a top class save low down to preserve the two-goal cushion.
Mile Oak did pull one back when a cross from the left was met by Joseph Benn, who planted an almost free header into the bottom corner.
Bexhill's game management was good in the closing stages, though, and they ran the clock down to secure a terrific first league victory in four weeks.
Bexhill: Legg; Robertson, Kidman, McFarlane, Ottley; Gouet, Holden, B. Trickett, Giles (Barden), Wheeler; Cuddington. Subs not used: A. Trickett, Willis, Butchers.
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 facebook.com/pages/Sport-Sussex3 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!