Bexhill United manager Ryan Light praised a ‘tremendous’ performance as his side survived a spirited comeback to overpower Selsey in the Southern Combination Division One Challenge Cup last Saturday.
Jack Shonk fired in the opener inside the first minute however the Seals equalised almost immediately before the visitors rattled in three more goals in the opening 45.
New signing Jamie Crone added a fifth in the second-half but, despite holding a comfortable lead, Bexhill allowed their hosts back into the game on the hour mark when Ryan Morey smashed in from a direct ball.
Selsey notched their third through Callum Dowdell but they couldn’t claw back the deficit any further as the visitors held on in torrential conditions to move on to the next round.
Light said: “Logistically, it was a nightmare, and the weather made things challenging for both sides but for an hour we was tremendous. The first half in particular was a master class in attacking football and we looked really dangerous throughout.
“We lost our way a bit in the second half and got caught out with a couple of long balls but the aim was to progress and we did that so I’m pleased with the effort.”
United recorded their first goal straight from kick-off when the ball was played through the middle, ending up at the feet of Shonk who fired low across the keeper to put Bexhill in front after only 15 seconds.
It’s his 50th goal in just 56 appearances since signing for the Pirates in August 2018.
Selsey went on the attack themselves from the restart and managed to get in behind the Bexhill defence to equalise with just three minutes gone.
Bexhill retook the lead on 13 minutes when Drew Greenall finished off a free-flowing passing move before Sammy Bunn extended their lead on 25 minutes. A neat interchange between Greenall and Bunn sent the midfielder clear and Bunn coolly slotted the ball underneath the advancing keeper.
On the stroke of half-time, Charlie Curran skilfully took the ball past two defenders before firing into the far corner to give the away side a three-goal lead at the break.
Bexhill knocked in a fifth when Shonk delivered a low cross into Crone who swivelled and finished for a debut goal on 55 minutes.
Selsey attempted to claw themselves back into the game and they found a lifeline when a direct ball over the top allowed Morey to run clear and finish.
The Seals soon had a second thanks to Dowdell, whose finish was a carbon copy of Morey’s, and Selsey were now in the ascendency with Bexhill forced to defend hard.
Craig McFarlane came to the rescue with a last ditch block to stop the scoreline getting any closer but it was Bexhill United who progressed into the next round of the cup where they will face Mile Oak at The Polegrove.
Bexhill are in league action this Saturday (November 2) where they visit unbeaten Division One leaders Littlehampton Town.
Bexhill United: Rose, Holden, Wheeler, McFarlane, Robertson, J Bunn, Shonk, S Bunn, Greenall, Crone, Curran. Subs: Ottley, Kalambayi, Gouet.