Bexhill United’s first ever home game in the FA Vase ended in a heavy defeat yesterday (Saturday).
The Pirates were sunk 6-2 at home to Rochester United in a second round qualifying tie after conceding three times in the first 15 minutes and twice more in the closing quarter-of-an-hour.
Bexhill made the worst possible start to a match played in near constant heavy rain at The Polegrove, conceding twice in the opening four minutes.
Ricky Gundry opened the scoring after barely two minutes with a shot on the turn which deflected into the corner and Kevin Penfold’s firm header into the far corner from a right wing free kick doubled Rochester’s advantage less than two minutes later.
Bexhill were left with a mountain to climb after Rochester added a third in the 15th minute. Pat Bisheneden showed great feet to slip the ball through for Gundry to slot past home goalkeeper Yarni Camara.
The hosts pulled one back 12 minutes later thanks to a stunning solo goal from Andy Garman. The wide midfielder picked up the ball well inside his own half and dribbled through the Rochester defence before beating giant goalkeeper Dan Ellis, although he appeared to get away with a little tug on last defender Reece Gillies.
Rochester restored their three-goal cushion, however, just two minutes afterwards. Bisheneden headed home another right wing free kick, this time at the near post.
Bexhill brought on Jamie Morgan at half time and Toby Clifford early in the second period, and the two substitutes combined for their second goal in the 53rd minute. Ellis couldn’t quite get to Clifford’s cross from the right and Morgan turned the ball home at the far post.
Rochester were the more accomplished side, though, and Camara pulled off two superb saves before the visitors scored their fifth in the 79th minute. Matt McHugh sped clear down the left and picked out the far corner with a fine finish.
The scoring was completed in the 87th minute when James Alderman and Vince Collins combined for Gundry to complete his hat-trick with a low shot into the bottom corner.
Bexhill: Camara, Cooper, Ottley (Morgan HT), Elliott-Noye, Munday, J. Aston, Garman (Clifford 50), Cumming-Bart (Hill 61), McDonald, G. Aston, McMinigal. Subs not used: Tudor, Rogers.