Bexhill United boss: Pressure is off us in battle for promotion places

Bexhill United will be hoping to have plenty to celebrate when they host Oakwood tomorrow. Picture by Simon Newstead
Bexhill United will be hoping to have plenty to celebrate when they host Oakwood tomorrow. Picture by Simon Newstead

The pressure is off Bexhill United Football Club in the race for promotion places, according to manager Ryan Light.

Bexhill sit third in Southern Combination League Division One, with the champions and possibly the runners-up to be promoted to the Premier Division.

With seven games to go, the Pirates are five points behind second-placed Alfold and seven adrift of leaders Steyning Town.

See also: * Bexhill United exceed last season’s points total after away win
* Bexhill United aiming to scale new heights during run-in
* Bexhill United hopeful that ground grading won’t be a barrier to promotion

Light said: “We’re in a situation now where we’re certainly not favourites to win the league or even get promoted.

“I think the other two are in the driving seat so the pressure’s off us a little bit. Hopefully we can use that to get back to how we were in the early months of the season and play with a bit of freedom. That corresponded with the time when we were scoring a lot of goals.

“The pressure’s totally on Steyning and Alfold to keep winning. All we can do is be there if they slip up.”

While Bexhill were without a game last weekend, Steyning and Alfold both won to increase their advantage over the Pirates.

“It eradicates the games in hand and now everybody’s on 25 games we’ve kind of got a clearer picture,” continued Light. “Any points dropped now would be quite significant for all three sides.

“We will never give up. We’ve had an outstanding season whatever happens and we’ll keep going right till the last kick on the final day.”

Having played just once since February 9, Bexhill will return to action with a visit from Oakwood tomorrow (Saturday) - their penultimate home fixture of the campaign.

Asked if he’s at all concerned that their lack of recent activity might adversely affect their performance, Light said: “There’s always a slight concern when you’re not playing at least once a week, but we had a really good training session on Saturday and I saw a real sharpness about us.

“Time will tell on Saturday. They (the players) are just desperate to get out and play. We have tried to get a friendly in for this week - we’ve tried a few teams at different levels - but it’s really difficult at this time of the season.

“I don’t think this week will be a big concern for us, but I’m a little bit concerned about the next break (Bexhill are again without a fixture next weekend). Once you’re in the realms of two games a month, you’ve got to find a fixture.”

Injury-free Bexhill will seek to maintain their record of not having dropped a point against any team outside the division’s top five all season when they host 13th-placed Oakwood tomorrow. Kick-off at The Polegrove is 3pm.

“We’re in for a really tough game,” added Light. “Oakwood have picked up of late, they’re giving good sides a good game.

“We want to finish strongly at home. The supporters have been fantastic this year, they’ve been on a different level to what we’ve had the last two years.

“We really feel the people have been behind us and enjoyed watching us this year, and we want to finish strongly for them.”

Southern Combination League Division One top half standings (played-points): 1 Steyning Town 25-63 (+43 goal difference), 2 Alfold 25-61 (+44), 3 BEXHILL UNITED 25-56 (+54), 4 AFC Varndeanians 25-52 (+30), 5 Selsey 26-48 (+24), 6 Hailsham Town 25-38 (+10), 7 Littlehampton Town 25-37 (+3), 8 Wick 26-36 (-7), 9 Sidlesham 25-33 (-11).