Bexhill United manager Ryan Light says the pressure is off the football club heading into a game it must win to stand a realistic chance of finishing in a promotion position.
The Pirates will travel to Steyning Town tomorrow (Saturday) for a second versus third Southern Combination League Division One encounter.
With three matches remaining, Bexhill are four points behind Steyning after being held to a 1-1 draw away to second-bottom Midhurst & Easebourne last weekend.
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Light said: “If anything, it kind of makes the picture a little bit clearer. We know we’ve got to go and win the game.
“That draw takes the pressure right off us because we’re rank outsiders now. The pressure’s all on Steyning and (leaders) Alfold to finish the job. It’s out of our hands.
“I think it will probably suit us a little bit. Had we won last weekend, this Saturday would’ve been such a pressure cooker of a game. But now we’re a little bit off the pace, we can go and play with a bit more freedom. The pressure’s all on them.”
The champions will be promoted and the runners-up may also go up, depending on points-per-game averages compared with the equivalent finishers in other step six leagues around the country and complying with FA ground grading regulations.
“We still view it as a massive game and a massive chance to get three points,” continued Light. “If we could get three points, it would put us right back in the promotion race.
“We’ll be in positive mood and more than ready to compete in that game. We’ll go down there and give it a real good bash.
“The (3G) surface at Steyning will suit us. We’ve got players that like to get the ball down, we like to pass the ball.”
Despite possessing the best goal difference and scoring more goals than any other team in the division, Bexhill have yet to record a win against anyone in the top five.
“That’s been our downfall,” admitted Light. “That will be the difference between champions, promotion and not going up; the direct results between us, Steyning, Alfold and Varndeanians. That’s the only disappointing aspect of a truly remarkable season.
“In the narrow 1-0 defeats we’ve had against Steyning, Alfold and Varndeanians, I think we’ve been excellent. I think we’ve deserved to win each of those games.”
Connor Robertson is away, but Jack McLean should be fully fit and Andy Atkin will come in to the squad for the first time since dual registering with Bexhill Town.
“He will be a massive asset from set-pieces, offensively and defensively as well,” added Light. “And we’ve got good energy around him to help him out.”
Bexhill United would like to thank their sponsors, supporters and many helpers for what has been a wonderful season, and wish Bexhill Cricket Club all the best for its season at The Polegrove.