Bexhill United’s footballers moved into the top two after extending their unbeaten run to 10 league matches.
The Pirates won 4-0 at home to Seaford Town in Macron Store Sussex County Football League Division Two yesterday (Saturday) thanks to an early Chris Cumming-Bart penalty, and goals in the final 20 minutes from Andy Atkin, Allan McMinigal and Kevin Barden.
Bexhill’s performance certainly wasn’t as convincing as the result would suggest, but they were far more clinical in front of goal than their bottom-of-the-table opponents, which gave the scoreline a somewhat flattering look.
Bexhill had a chance in the opening minute of their 12th home league game of the season, but Andy Garman couldn’t round Ben Head in the Seaford goal having been put through by Jamie Crone.
The hosts didn’t have to wait long, however, to hit the front. Crone latched on to a ball over the top and was brought down as he tried to round Head, leaving Cumming-Bart to emphatically slam home the resulting penalty.
Against a Seaford side still searching for its first point of the season, you might have expected Bexhill to run away with it thereafter. But that certainly wasn’t the case and, in fact, the visitors were the better side for the remainder of the first half.
Ben Courtnage fired a free kick just over Bexhill’s crossbar and forced goalkeeper Yankuba Camara into a slightly awkward save either side of a low corner from the left being blocked by Camara’s legs on the goal-line.
Seaford were also awarded a couple of free kicks right on the edge of the box which they felt might have been penalties and Dan Barnett wasn’t far away with a long range effort after Camara miskicked when out of his goal.
Bexhill needed to step up a gear after the break, but although Atkin had a pair of headers fairly comfortably saved, there was no significant improvement during a pretty even third quarter and Camara pulled off a fine save low to his left to deny Matt Acton.
The home side finally stamped its authority during the final quarter largely thanks to the impact of substitutes Scott McDonald and Barden. McDonald had a hand in all of Bexhill’s last three goals, while Barden scored one and set up another.
Barden had a shot pushed away by Head and a penalty appeal for handball from a McDonald shot was turned down moments before Bexhill doubled their advantage in the 74th minute. McDonald delivered an inch-perfect cross from the left for Atkin to head home.
Seaford still refused to lie down, though. Acton headed onto the top of the net from a left wing corner and then forced Camara into a good stop at his near post before Tom O’Donnell scuffed a shot well wide.
Bexhill went 3-0 up with a well-worked goal in the 83rd minute. After good play from Atkin and McDonald in the build-up, Barden rolled the ball across goal to give McMinigal a simple tap in.
Dean Paston sliced way off target for Seaford before Bexhill rounded-off the scoring with a fourth goal in the 90th minute. A lovely ball from McDonald was matched by an equally good finish from Barden over the advancing Head.
There was still time for Atkin to force a save out of Head with a downward header from Toby Clifford’s free kick and Clifford himself to call Head into action again from a well-struck shot.
Bexhill: Camara, G. Aston, Ottley, Elliott-Noye, Munday, J. Aston, Garman (Barden HT), Cumming-Bart, Crone (McDonald 62), Atkin, McMinigal (Clifford 84). Subs not used: Cooper, Cruikshank.
Standings (played-points): 1 Worthing United 17-42, 2 BEXHILL UNITED 18-36, 3 AFC Uckfield Town 18-35, 4 Wick & Barnham United 15-33, 5 Mile Oak 15-27, 6 Oakwood 15-27, 7 LITTLE COMMON 18-26, 8 Haywards Heath Town 18-25, 9 Steyning Town 15-24, 10 Midhurst & Easebourne 17-22, 11 Rustington 17-20, 12 WESTFIELD 17-20, 13 Storrington 18-12, 14 Saltdean United 16-11, 15 Seaford Town 18-0.