East Sussex Football League: Bexhill Town complete great relegation escape with final-day victory

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Bexhill Town completed a great escape from relegation on the final day of the Macron Store Hastings East Sussex Football League season.

A 2-0 home win over Hawkhurst United on Saturday lifted Town above their opponents and out of the Premier Division's bottom two on goal difference.

Town went into the first weekend of April eight points adrift at the foot of the table on -1 points having lost all of their opening 17 league fixtures, several of them narrowly.

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But the goals of Jake Hemsley and Harrison Robb against the Hawks earned Town a fourth victory in their final five matches as they completed a truly remarkable survival act.

Action between Rye Town and Bexhill Town | Picture: Joe KnightAction between Rye Town and Bexhill Town | Picture: Joe Knight
Action between Rye Town and Bexhill Town | Picture: Joe Knight

Elsewhere, champions Rye Town signed off with a 2-1 success away to Bexhill AAC to finish four points clear at the summit.

Lennon Powell and Callum Hadaway both came off the bench to score for Rye, while Leo Oliver's goal wasn't enough to get AAC the win they needed to rise above Punnetts Town into the top five.

Runners-up Crowhurst received a walkover at ninth-placed Sidley United, while Westfield II triumphed 2-0 in the third-place shoot-out away to Hollington United.

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The result ended Hollington's nine-match winning run, which included victories in the Macron Store Hastings Cup and ESFL Graham Ormston Premier Travel Chauffeurs Challenge Cup finals.

The JC Tackleway moved above Sandhurst into seventh spot courtesy of a home walkover against bottom-of-the-table St Leonards Social.

The final game in Division Two was also a walkover as Crowhurst II were given the points at home to Wadhurst United.

That meant the Crows climbed above Northiam 75, who led the table for much of the campaign, and into the top three.

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Saturday's other encounter produced a 5-2 win for Hailsham Town away to Battle Town in the second Hastings & District FA Intermediate Challenge Cup semi-final.

Hailsham, who finished fifth in Southern Combination League Division Two, will face Hawkhurst in the final at Hastings United FC on Friday May 24.

Final standings (played-points) - Premier Division: Rye Town 22-55 (+36 goal difference), Crowhurst 22-51 (+46), Westfield II 22-45 (+21), Hollington United 22-40 (+15), Punnetts Town* 22-38 (+29), Bexhill AAC 22-37 (+13), The JC Tackleway 22-30 (-11), Sandhurst 22-29 (-1), Sidley United* 22-24 (-13), Bexhill Town* 22-11 (-31), Hawkhurst United 22-11 (-40), St Leonards Social* 22-7 (-64). * = points adjusted

Division 1: Jesters Town 12-30 (+31), Ninfield 12-27 (+6), Peche Hill Select 12-25 (+5), Battle Town II 12-10 (-10), Little Common II 12-10 (-13), Herstmonceux* 12-10 (-14), SC Pass+Move Arrows* 12-9 (-5). * = points adjusted. Rock-a-Nore, Hollington United II withdrawn.

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Division 2: Bexhill Rovers 18-42 (+42), Rye Town II 18-41 (+33), Crowhurst II 18-35 (+21), Northiam 75 18-34 (+20), Hooe 18-32 (+12), Sedlescombe Rangers II 18-24 (+1), Victoria Baptists 18-20 (-18), Wadhurst United* 18-12 (-17), Sovereign Saints II* 18-9 (-50), Robertsbridge United* 18-5 (-44). * = points adjusted

Division 3: Parkfield* 16-39 (+22), Bexhill AAC II 16-31 (+34), Catsfield 16-26 (+9), Ticehurst* 16-23 (+7), Westfield III 16-22 (0), Sedlescombe Rangers Development 16-18 (-23), Orington 16-17 (-16), Welcroft Park Rangers II 16-12 (-5), Mountfield United* 16-12 (-28). * = points adjusted

Division 4: Burwash 16-39 (+34), The JC Tackleway II* 16-37 (+42), Crowhurst III* 16-37 (+38), Battle Town Development 16-24 (+8), Hastings Comets 16-21 (-7), Robertsbridge United II 16-16 (-18), Icklesham Casuals 16-15 (-19), Hastings Athletic 16-11 (-29), Hawkhurst United II 16-5 (-49). * = points adjusted

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