Bexhill United’s footballers came from behind to beat neighbours Westfield in the Hastings & District FA Senior Cup final last night (Friday).
A terrific goal in either half from George Aston and Andy Garman gave Bexhill a 2-1 victory after Sam Henham had headed Westfield into a deserved early lead.
On a glorious spring evening at The Polegrove, Westfield played very well during the opening 35 minutes but were ultimately left to rue not opening up more than a one-goal cushion against a Bexhill side which is seven places above them in Macron Store Sussex County Football League Division Two.
Gordon Cuddington had a hat-trick of early attempts at goal, one of which bounced awkwardly in front of home goalkeeper Yankuba Camara, but Bexhill had a great chance to open the scoring after a quarter-of-an-hour. Captain-for-the-night Chris Cumming-Bart went through on goal following a lovely ball over the top by Garman only to clip the top of the crossbar with his finish.
Westfield made the breakthrough three minutes later. A superbly delivered free kick from Lawrence Brand was nodded home by central defender Henham.
Matt Dadswell then flashed a shot just wide of Bexhill’s goal from the edge of the box, David Pugh struck the angle of post and crossbar with a brilliant free kick on his return to the Westfield side following a lengthy injury lay-off and Lawrence Brand wasn’t far off target with an effort from distance.
Bexhill equalised somewhat against the run of play in the 39th minute. George Aston curled a free kick around the wall and into the corner of Westfield’s net.
Bexhill’s line-up had a more familiar look to it after half time and it was they who fashioned most of the goalscoring opportunities during the second period.
Brand had a crisply struck free kick beaten out by Camara before Garman won it for Bexhill with a trademark solo strike in the 68th minute, surging down the right and unleashing a splendid left-foot shot into the far corner.
Bexhill then had a great chance to go 3-1 up. Westfield goalkeeper Connor Holland spilled the ball and Corey Wheeler’s shot was blocked on the line by Henham before Cumming-Bart put the follow-up over the crossbar from close range.
Bexhill substitute Allan McMinigal shot just wide of the near post from a narrow angle and then latched on to a ball over the top only to lob wide with just Holland to beat.
Bexhill’s victory was their second over Westfield this season, in addition to a draw, and it brought the cup back to The Polegrove following Westfield’s 3-0 victory over a very different Bexhill side in the 2014 final. Both clubs have now finished their seasons.
Bexhill: Camara, Wheeler, J. Aston, Cooper, Elliott-Noye, G. Aston, Cruikshank, Cumming-Bart, Garman, Pickering, Ottley.
Westfield: Holland, Williams, Bell, Archer, Henham, Dadswell, Brand, Cuddington, Pugh, Coombes, Burton.