Bexhill boss ‘delighted’ to reach semi-final

Lewis McGuigan, scorer of Bexhill United's second goal, keeps a close eye on an AFC Varndeanians opponent. Pictures by Simon Newstead
Lewis McGuigan, scorer of Bexhill United's second goal, keeps a close eye on an AFC Varndeanians opponent. Pictures by Simon Newstead

Bexhill United manager Ryan Light said the football club was ‘delighted’ to reach the semi-finals of its divisional knockout competition.

The Pirates booked their place in the last four of the Macron Store Southern Combination League Division One Challenge Cup with a 4-2 quarter-final win at home to AFC Varndeanians last night (Tuesday).

Light said: “As a club we’re delighted. It’s that step further than last year and with the squad we’ve got, we’re really confident we can push on. If we could get to a cup final, what a great occasion that would be for the people of the football club who work so hard.”

Bexhill will face St Francis Rangers or Oakwood on a date to be announced in the semi-finals after goals from Gordon Cuddington, Lewis McGuigan, Georges Gouet and Wayne Giles gave them victory in a quarter-final where they led 2-0 and 3-1.

“We didn’t just have to deal with the opponents, we had to deal with the difficult conditions,” continued Light. “The pitch is borderline, it’s very soft out there.

“When one team is better than the other ability-wise, it’s a bit of a leveller. But I thought we coped very well and I’m delighted to be through to the semi-final.”

Georges Gouet, scorer of Bexhill United's third goal, flicks the ball on.

Georges Gouet, scorer of Bexhill United's third goal, flicks the ball on.

Bexhill led 2-1 at half time after conceding a penalty in added time having earlier had a spot-kick of their own saved at 1-0. They then went 3-1 up and although Varndeanians got back to 3-2, Bexhill put the outcome beyond doubt with a fourth goal in the 88th minute.

Light added: “I thought first half in the conditions - because it’s worse than it looks from the side - I thought we played excellently. It was a really assured, confident first half performance.

“Three-nil at half time would’ve been game, set and match. It (conceding just before half time) to a degree concentrated our minds a bit for the second half. It wasn’t dead and buried.

“Second half I thought they would come out and have a bit of a go at us, but the 10 minutes after half time was probably our best spell of the game and we scored a great (third) goal. Georges Gouet showed fantastic technique.

“I thought we went off the boil a bit after that, went a bit deeper and maybe invited them on a bit. Then they got the goal, and it becomes a little bit frantic and a bit fraught, but we scored a fantastic team goal for the fourth.

“I thought we broke from end to end very quickly and we used our wide men well. I thought Corey Wheeler was fantastic after he came on.”