Bexhill United claimed local bragging rights and three important points with a narrow win away to Westfield yesterday (Saturday).
A 71st minute goal from Andy Atkin gave the Pirates a 1-0 victory which extended their unbeaten run to eight Macron Store Sussex County Football League Division Two matches.
The first half was a lively affair in which both teams hit the woodwork, although Bexhill striker-turned-goalkeeper Jamie Morgan was certainly busier than opposite number Connor Holland.
Morgan did well to touch Steve Ringwood’s well-struck long range effort onto the crossbar and made a good save with his legs to deny Gordon Cuddington from the resulting corner amid Westfield shouts for handball.
At the other end, Jamie Crone shot just too high from inside the box and Andy Garman pulled his finish wide after cutting out a pass from Holland which was intended for Jethro Warren.
Things got heated midway through the first half when a foul by Westfield midfielder Andy Hales on Toby Clifford sparked an angry exchange between the two sets of players, but remarkably no cards were shown by the referee.
Westfield striker David Pugh missed a great chance to add to his tally of 13 goals in 12 games by shooting wide of the far post after turning Marc Munday superbly. Tom Archer’s header from a free kick was then saved by the legs of Morgan.
Another flashpoint ended with Bexhill midfielder Chris Cumming-Bart being booked for a poor tackle on Lawrence Brand and Warren cautioned for his reaction.
Crone struck the post with his left foot after Archer failed to cut out Kevin Barden’s pass, while shortly before the break, Munday wasn’t far away with an overhead kick and Atkin volleyed over.
Westfield were very much on top during the third quarter of the match. Morgan made a good tip over from Sam Willett’s drive and moments later gathered Warren’s shot. Willett forced another decent stop out of the impressive Morgan low to his right and Atkin prevented Ringwood turning home the rebound.
It was against the run of play that Bexhill landed the decisive blow as Atkin rose highest to score with a trademark header from Clifford’s free kick.
Westfield never really looked like mustering a response thereafter as Bexhill did a good job of seeing the game out. In fact, it was the first time Westfield have failed to score since the opening day of the season.
Westfield: Holland, Williams, Bell, Archer, Warren, Cuddington, Brand, Willett, Hales (Discala 82), Pugh, Ringwood (Coombes 73). Sub not used: Thomson.
Bexhill: Morgan, G. Aston, Ottley, Elliott-Noye, Clifford, Munday, Garman, Cumming-Bart, Crone, Atkin, Barden (McMinigal 60). Subs not used: Tudor, Cruikshank, White.