Today’s fixture took me down to Bexhill on the South Coast, to watch a Southern Combination Premier Division match between seventh placed Bexhill United and fourth placed Steyning Town.
Bexhill United’s ground, the Polegrove Stadium, has seen an average crowd of 197, this season and is best known for its unique main stand, which is in a mock Tudor arts and crafts style and dates back to 1929. I met a friend in Bexhill, finding street parking near the ground and was able to explore the town with its gift and craft shops, vinyl and second hand shops and cafes.
Ryan Light, manager of Bexhill United, oversaw the club’s promotion to the Premier Division in 2021 and will want his team to work hard, to close the ten point gap to the automatic promotion places. Bexhill United’s goals have come largely from Evan Archibald, 13 goals in 30 games and James Stone with 12 goals in 32 games.
Steyning Town, who average over two goals a game, have been led in the goal scoring stakes by Jack Langford with fifteen goals in seventeen games and Dominic Johnson-Fisher (10 goals in 24 games). Steyning Town are managed by Kevin Green who was appointed in the summer of 2022, after the successful six year tenure of Gerry Murphy came to an end with his resignation. Green will be delighted with the progress made by his side, who only finished seventeenth in the Division last year, but will be keen to see them push on now to close the gap on Newhaven, in the last automatic promotion place.
There was a decent crowd of 139, on a cold and windy afternoon, at kick off. The game was evenly fought, for the first 40 minutes, with Steyning Town looking most dangerous when Don Johnson-Fisher and Jack Langford had any space to run into.
Bexhill United struggled going forward, as they played into the wind, but that didn’t stop James Stone and Evan Archibald, from testing the away side’s back line with their pace, when the ball was played on the ground.
In the 42nd minute, with the half time break approaching, a volleyed effort, using the wind, from the half way line by Ryan Hallett, caught everyone, (including myself as you can see from what I did manage to capture on video!) unawares and sailed over Alex Zamani, into the Bexhill United net, to put Steyning Town 0-1 up at the break.
On 59 minutes it was 0-2, when Dom Johnson-Fisher broke free and unselfishly squared the ball to Jack Langford, who scored from close range.
To their credit Bexhill United didn’t crumple at this point, but instead came back with attack after attack, making full use of the strong wind in their favour. Aaron Cook came closest for the home side, striking the cross bar from the edge of the Steyning Town area.
However at full time, it was Steyning Town who took the three points to push towards the automatic promotion race. Bexhill United battled well but just weren’t clinical enough in the final third today.