Bexhill United Football Club manager Ryan Light said he couldn’t recall ever being so proud of a team than after last night’s (Tuesday) narrow cup defeat.
The Pirates were edged out 1-0 at home to a Haywards Heath Town side which plays two levels higher up the non-league pyramid in round two of the Sussex RUR Charity Cup.
Light said: “I thought we were absolutely phenomenal. I’ve been in football a long time and I can’t remember ever being more proud of a set of players I’ve sent out on the pitch.
“We were calm in possession, we passed the ball well and you wouldn’t have known there was 30-odd places between the sides. It was a fantastic performance, everybody stuck to their tasks.
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“I thought we were desperately unlucky not to go in the lead in the first half. I thought we had the better chances and more of them.
“I can’t speak more highly of the players. If we play like that in the coming weeks at our level, we’ll be absolutely fine. There won’t be many teams who can get near us.
“It was almost a night where you could see how far we’ve come over the three years (since Light first charge in summer 2016).”
A 64th minute goal proved the difference between the sides in a game where Heath played for more than 70 minutes with 10 men and an outfield player in goal.
“Bearing in mind the opposition, I think it was the most disciplined performance of the season,” continued Light. “Everybody had a job to do and we carried it out for the whole 90 minutes.
“We had to keep our shape and discipline, and there were fantastic individual performances out there. There was nothing between the sides throughout the 90 minutes. It was a little bit of a shock it was so close.”