Bexhill United’s footballers endured a night to forget as they fell at the first hurdle in the Parafix Sussex Senior Challenge Cup.
The Pirates produced a poor performance as they were comfortably seen off 3-1 at home to fellow Macron Store Southern Combination Football League Division One side Ringmer last night (Tuesday).
Bexhill have now lost five of their six cup matches this season and their interest in the knockout competitions rests solely with the Division One Challenge Cup.
On a horrible wet night at The Polegrove, Bexhill struggled to get out of their own half in the early stages. Dominic Clarke shot wide of the far post and a terrific long range strike by Andy Hales flew just over as Ringmer quickly got on top.
Jordan Woodley went just over with a 30-yard free kick in Bexhill’s first attempt at goal. A long range strike by Liam Upton was beaten out by Bexhill goalkeeper Yankuba Camara and moments later at the other end Cooper’s angled drive went wide of the far post.
Bexhill full-back Anthony Cooper made a crucial block from Maclean’s goalbound shot before Ringmer took a deserved 24th minute lead. Central defender Ben Radley showed good feet to work space in a crowded box at a corner and buried his finish past Camara.
Camara held Harrison Burley’s deflected long range strike, but was culpable for Ringmer’s second goal in the 42nd minute. The Bexhill goalkeeper came for Steven Jackson’s right wing cross, but didn’t get there and the ball ricocheted into the net off Maclean.
The showery rain of the first half became almost constant during the second period and Bexhill went further behind in the 53rd minute. Hales’s cross from the left slipped through the fingers of Camara, presenting Clarke - the subject of a recent seven-day approach from Bexhill - with a simple header into the empty net.
There was more bad news for Bexhill midway through the half. Camara sustained an injury when caught late but seemingly not intentionally by Jack Robinson and was replaced between the posts by defender George Aston.
On a night of few positives for Bexhill, they did at least keep going and enjoyed their best spell of the match in the closing quarter-of-an-hour, although by this stage Ringmer had well and truly taken their foot off the pedal.
Ringmer goalkeeper Tom Betts was finally forced into his first save of the match in the 79th minute when he gathered Woodley’s low 25-yard drive at the second attempt.
Nathan Tudor acrobatically volleyed Craig Ottley’s cross straight at Betts before Bexhill nabbed a consolation in the first minute of added time. Woodley got on the end of a long ball over the top and as the flag stayed down, beat Betts with a confident finish.
Bexhill: Camara (G. Aston 68), Cooper, Ottley, Elliott-Noye, Cruikshank, J. Aston, A. Tudor (Peoples 55), Woodward, Cooper, Woodley, N. Tudor. Sub not used: Munday.
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