Wayne Giles plundered a four-goal salvo as Bexhill United Football Club romped to an 8-0 win at home to Midhurst & Easebourne.
The Pirates netted four times in either half at a windswept Polegrove yesterday (Saturday) to emphatically record their first home victory of the Macron Store Southern Combination Football League Division One campaign.
Bexhill chose to play with the gale behind them in the opening period and the decision was fully vindicated as they effectively had the game won by half time.
They took the lead somewhat controversially after 10 minutes. Corey Wheeler’s cross from the left picked out Giles, who had a virtually empty net but his shot hit team-mate Gordon Cuddington and rebounded back to him before Giles scored at the second attempt.
Midhurst were furious that Cuddington wasn’t flagged offside - seemingly with much justification - and the goal was allowed to stand.
Bexhill doubled their advantage four minutes later. Georges Gouet picked up the ball following a throw-in on the right and dribbled to the edge of the box before poking a low shot into the corner of the net.
Two became three in the 35th minute. Chris Rea and Cuddington won their headers before Giles got goalside of the last defender and rolled the ball past Midhurst goalkeeper Billy Nash.
Bexhill goalkeeper Dan Rose produced a brilliant reflex save when Lewis Hamilton seemed almost certain to pull one back.
The home side added a fourth goal in the 41st minute. Craig Ottley’s superbly delivered inswinging free kick from the right hit Craig McFarlane somewhere on his body and rolled across the line.
McFarlane picked himself up after receiving treatment for an injury to make an important defensive block and moments later Connor Robertson was whiskers away from a fifth Bexhill goal.
In the second half, Rose produced a superb diving save to repel Harry Tollworthy’s header and parried a Hamilton shot either side of Robertson having a goalbound shot blocked at the other end following great work from Cuddington.
Giles completed his hat-trick with Bexhill’s fifth goal in the 64th minute. An attack down Bexhill’s left ended with Giles placing a delightful finish into the bottom corner from inside the D.
Bexhill’s last three goals came in the space of five rampant minutes. They went 6-0 up in the 73rd minute when Robertson’s tackle released Giles, who held off away defender Jamie Hill before slotting past Nash for his fourth.
Giles went from scorer to provider a minute later, doing really well to get past his man and pull the ball back for Cuddington to sweep a good finish into the far bottom corner.
The rout was completed just three minutes after that. Ottley was barged over near the byeline and picked himself up to send Nash the wrong way with the resulting penalty, becoming Bexhill’s joint highest scorer this season to boot.
There was still time for Robertson to shoot just wide from inside the box at one end. At the other, Hamilton spurned a good chance for a consolation and Rose pulled off a spectacular save from Liam Dreckmann’s 30-yard drive.
Bexhill: Rose, Cornelius, Ottley, McGuigan, McFarlane, Rea (Harffey 55), Gouet, Robertson, Giles (Robinson 79), Cuddington, Wheeler (Butchers 76).
Southern Combination League Division One top eight (played-points): 1 LITTLE COMMON 12-31 (+41 goal difference), 2 Wick 12-31 (+30), 3 Lingfield 12-25 (+17), 4 Langney Wanderers 11-25 (+16), 5 Steyning Town 11-21 (+15), 6 Selsey 11-19 (+9), 7 BEXHILL UNITED 12-18 (+14), 8 Seaford Town 11-18 (+3).