Bexhill United hit five goals in ‘phenomenal’ second half

Bexhill United full-back Nathan Lopez tries to chase back and stop a cross coming in during the 6-0 win at home to Billingshurst. Picture by Simon Newstead
Bexhill United full-back Nathan Lopez tries to chase back and stop a cross coming in during the 6-0 win at home to Billingshurst. Picture by Simon Newstead

Bexhill United manager Ryan Light praised a ‘phenomenal’ second half performance after the football club reached the 50-point mark in style.

The Pirates scored five goals during a dazzling second half display to win 6-0 at home to Billingshurst and consolidate third place in Southern Combination League Division One.

Light said: “It was a phenomenal second half performance. There were flicks and tricks, we really did play well.

See also: * Bexhill United ‘a little bit of a machine at the moment’
* Bexhill United power to impressive 4-0 win
* Bexhill United boss targets 11 wins in last 12 matches

“We totally tore them apart in the second half. Double figures wouldn’t have been out of the realms of possibility, which is quite staggering because at half time I would’ve taken 1-0.”

The first half was fairly closely contested and although Bexhill held a narrow lead at the break having played into the stiff breeze, there was no indication that the final scoreline would be as one-sided as it was.

Bexhill’s leading scorer, Jack Shonk, twice went close from Jamie Bunn free kicks in the opening quarter-of-an-hour, firstly seeing a deflected header go just wide of the far post and then being denied by the goalkeeper when he got a slight touch at the near post.

In between times at the other end, Bexhill captain Craig McFarlane made a vital headed block to keep out a goalbound shot from inside the area.

Bexhill took a 17th minute lead with a fine goal which stemmed from a throw-in deep inside their own half. After Drew Greenall’s flick on, Sammy Bunn played a great ball over the away defence and Jack McLean finished coolly when one-on-one with the goalkeeper.

Later in the half Greenall was denied by a good save from the goalkeeper’s feet having done well to fashion the chance for himself by holding off a pair of defenders. Two minutes later at the other end, a looping header following a cross from the away right dropped just wide.

Bexhill had to take off Liam Foster at half time due to a twisted ankle and a minute into the second period Nathan Lopez collapsed in a heap with a pulled quadricep muscle.

Craig Ottley replaced Lopez and was instrumental in Bexhill swiftly opening up a three-goal advantage.

The second goal came when a corner came back out to Ottley, who fizzed in a fantastic shot which was too hot for the goalkeeper to hold and Shonk was first to react to the rebound.

A few minutes later McLean burst into the box and was brought down for a penalty, which Ottley comfortably slotted home in trademark fashion.

Bexhill’s three-goal lead gave them the cushion to really express themselves and get on the front foot against a Billingshurst side which had won four consecutive matches before being edged out 3-2 by second-placed Alfold the previous weekend.

The home side went four-up when a spell of possession in and around the Billingshurst box ended with the ball dropping to Jamie Bunn, who fired into the bottom corner.

Jamie Bunn was also credited with the fifth goal. His inswinging corner ended up in the net via the post and possibly a touch or two in a crowded goalmouth.

Greenall was given the sixth goal. His shot bobbled into the net through the legs of substitute Kion Parchment, who jumped to try and get out the way of the ball when in an offside position a yard from goal. Billingshurst appealed for offside, but the goal was allowed to stand.

Bexhill had several other chances to have added to their tally as they made it three wins and 15 goals against Billingshurst this season.

Bexhill: Rose; Holden, McGuigan, McFarlane, Lopez (Ottley); J. Bunn, S. Bunn, Foster (Robertson); Shonk (Parchmont), Greenall, McLean.

Southern Combination League Division One top half standings (played-points): 1 Steyning Town 21-53 (+36 goal difference), 2 Alfold 21-51 (+39), 3 BEXHILL UNITED 22-50 (+49), 4 AFC Varndeanians 21-42 (+26), 5 Selsey 22-41 (+22), 6 Hailsham Town 22-33 (+8), 7 Littlehampton Town 21-31 (+2), 8 Wick 22-31 (-6), 9 Sidlesham 22-30 (-8).

* Weather permitting, Bexhill United will make the long trip to Alfold for a Division One Challenge Cup quarter-final tomorrow (Tuesday) night.

Alfold beat Bexhill 1-0 in both league meetings between the clubs, the second of which was at The Polegrove on January 8.