Bexhill United will be counting themselves lucky to have escaped with a point following a 1-1 draw in a physical encounter against a well-organised Oakwood side at The Polegrove on Saturday.
The Pirates took the lead through a sumptuous chipped effort from Scott McDonald, but Clive Piller restored parity for Oakwood by finding the top corner.
Bexhill started the Macron Store Sussex County Football League Division Two match brightly, with Josh Elliott-Noye heading into the goalkeeper’s arms in the opening moments.
Kevin Barden’s free kick into the box then caused confusion and in the resulting melee, Jamie Morgan had a strong case for a penalty waved away.
Amid the appeals, the visitors broke through Bexhill lines and George Aston sent the ball into his own goal only for the linesman to adjudge Oakwood target man Tom Lyons offside.
The best chance of the half fell to Morgan on 26 minutes, but despite scoring three goals in the previous two games, he fired McDonald’s cross over the crossbar from six yards out.
Oakwood almost took the lead when Ben Arthur’s shot evaded Yarni Camara, but Aston produced an heroic block on the line to keep the scores level at the break.
A languid opening to the second half sparked into life in the 60th minute when Morgan’s over-enthusiastic challenge on Piller led to players from both sides squaring up to each other as tempers flared.
Bexhill finally broke the deadlock on 67 minutes when Arthur’s deflected free kick was saved by Camara, who launched an incisive counter-attack. Chris Cumming-Bart’s accurate pass found McDonald, who showed great composure to lob the onrushing Grimstone and put the hosts ahead.
Lyons forced a fine near post stop from Camara as Oakwood pressed for an equaliser, and on 70 minutes provided the ball for Piller to fire into the top right corner and level matters.
As both sides pushed for a winner, Andy Atkin’s introduction following a lengthy lay-off instantly flipped the odds in Bexhill’s favour. He offered a new threat going forward, but saw his 89th minute header go wide of the post.
Deep into stoppage time, Grimstone denied Atkin a goal on his return, and despite the forward crossing the parried ball back into the danger zone, Bexhill were unable to capitalise on the follow-up and had to settle for a share of the spoils.
Bexhill: Camara, Cooper, Ottley, Elliott-Noye, Clifford, J. Aston, Barden (Tudor), Cumming-Bart, McDonald, Morgan (Atkin), G. Aston (Munday). Sub not used: Wheeler.