Bexhill United boss: I couldn’t be any more proud of players

Bexhill United celebrate their opening goal in Easter Monday's 2-0 win away to Hailsham Town. Picture by Simon Newstead
Bexhill United celebrate their opening goal in Easter Monday's 2-0 win away to Hailsham Town. Picture by Simon Newstead

Ryan Light says he couldn’t be any more proud of his Bexhill United players even though the football club cannot now finish in a promotion position.

In past seasons there were three promotion places in Southern Combination League Division One, but this term only the champions are guaranteed to go up.

The runners-up could also be promoted depending on how their points-per-game average compares with the equivalent finishers in other step six leagues across the country and complying with FA ground grading criteria.

See also: * Bexhill United’s top two hopes end despite victory
* Bexhill United boss: Thrilling game belonged at higher level
* Bexhill United pegged back in dramatic second versus third clash
* Steyning Town versus Bexhill United in pictures

Light, Bexhill’s manager, said: “In any other football season we would be a point away from promotion. Our ambition when we got the job was to get in the FA Cup and finish in the top three, and this year we’ve done that.

“You couldn’t be any more proud of the whole squad. We’ve blown teams away at times this year.”

Bexhill are the division’s highest scorers with 91 goals in 31 league games and their +64 goal difference is also the best of any team. All five of their defeats have been by a 1-0 scoreline.

Yet they must avoid defeat in a tricky final game of the season away to seventh-placed Mile Oak this coming Saturday to secure third place.

“We’ve got to carry on pushing right to the end,” added Light, whose team is two points ahead of fourth-placed AFC Varndeanians and four behind second-placed Steyning Town. “It would be a travesty if this team didn’t finish in the top three.

“We’ve never won there since we’ve been in charge, it’s not been a happy hunting ground. But we’ve come so far we don’t really look back at past seasons. If we can put on a performance like we have done all year, hopefully we can finish strongly.”

Jack McLean is doubtful with the groin strain which kept him out of the Easter Monday win away to Hailsham Town, but Joel Kalambayi is expected to return.

Southern Combination League Division One top half standings (played-points): 1 Alfold 31-77 (+59 goal difference), 2 Steyning Town 31-74 (+52), 3 BEXHILL UNITED 31-70 (+64), 4 AFC Varndeanians 31-68 (+41), 5 Selsey 31-63 (+35), 6 Littlehampton Town 31-47 (+13), 7 Mile Oak 31-43 (+5), 8 Hailsham Town 31-40 (+4), 9 Sidlesham 31-37 (-15).