Frustration for beaten Bexhill

Kevin Barden on the ball for Bexhill United against East Preston. Picture by Simon Newstead

Kevin Barden on the ball for Bexhill United against East Preston. Picture by Simon Newstead

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Bexhill United's footballers endured a frustrating afternoon as they lost 2-0 at home to East Preston on Saturday.

A goal in either half from the high-flying visitors condemned Bexhill to a second successive Macron Store Southern Combination Football League Division One defeat.

There wasn't much between two energetic young sides during a first half of few chances and Bexhill probably would've felt aggrieved to be trailing at the break on a glorious autumn day.

EP made their one genuine opportunity of the half count in the 26th minute. Bexhill full-back Connor Robertson was caught in possession and Hayden Hunter made his way into the box before being brought down by Ashley Kidman's lunging challenge. Dan Rose got a hand to the resulting Jack Barnes penalty, but couldn't keep it out.

Bexhill probably had more of the territory before the goal, although their only attempt of note was a low Kevin Barden strike from outside the box which went just wide. After the goal, Robertson couldn't quite force the ball home at the near post following a good run and cross by Matt Cunnington.

There was a flashpoint in the opening eight minutes which ended in a yellow card apiece for Barden and Hunter, although Bexhill seemed to think the latter was fortunate not to see red for what they deemed a push in the face.

Wayne Giles closes down an East Preston opponent. Picture by Simon Newstead

Wayne Giles closes down an East Preston opponent. Picture by Simon Newstead

EP took a firm grip on the match with a second goal in the 54th minute - and a soft one from Bexhill's point of view. A long ball through the middle split Bexhill's defence and Daniel Huet scored with a clinical first time finish.

Bexhill were full of honest endeavour and never stopped running, but you couldn't see a way back for them thereafter as they again struggled to carve out chances, admittedly against opposition which has lost only once in the league this season.

Their best moments of the second period were shots from outside the area by Kyle Holden and Barden which were comfortably held by EP goalkeeper Chris Cox, and a Georges Gouet header following Craig Ottley's cross which went wide of the far post.

In fact, had it not been for several Rose saves during the final half-an-hour of regulation time, the margin of defeat would have been greater.

Corey Wheeler holds off an East Preston opponent. Picture by Simon Newstead

Corey Wheeler holds off an East Preston opponent. Picture by Simon Newstead

The Sussex under-18 goalkeeper made a good stop with his legs to keep out Connor Bull's angled drive and moments later repelled a Barnes effort from the byeline at his near post.

Rose then made a splendid double save, firstly parrying George Laughlin's shot low to his right and getting up quickly to stop Bull's close range follow-up.

He later used his feet to deny Bull once again and seconds later produced a superb reflex save from substitute Lukas Frazen-Jones.

Bexhill played the nine minutes of added time with 10 men after Cunnington was helped off with an ankle injury at a time when all three permitted substitutions had been made.

Bexhill: Rose, Robertson, Ottley, Kidman (Gouet 58), McFarlane, B. Trickett, Holden, Cuddington, Barden (Wheeler 71), Giles (Butchers 71), Cunnington. Subs not used: A. Trickett, Willis.

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