We arrived in a storm. Not one with a fancy name but one with heavy rain and in-your-face wind. There were no lights on at the Polegrove. It looked like everyone had given up and gone home, content to warm themselves with Davis Cup tennis and the remnants of Black Friday sales. But, no, tucked warmly in a hut by the entrance was a guy in hi-viz who assured us that despite the water, water everywhere there would be a game to see. And he was right. And so a few dozen hardy souls were treated to what was, in defiance of the conditions, a decent game of football, although with the final score being 6-1 to Bexhill it’ll be one, presumably, whose aesthetic qualities won’t bring much comfort to Steyning Town.
Steyning actually had the better of the early exchanges. With the strong wind at their backs they played some nice moves and looked the more likely to establish a lead. But on five minutes the first of many breakdown in team communication occurred leading firstly to a corner and secondly to a soft tap in. Still, even behind on the theoretical scoreboard the visitors had the lion’s share of actual possession. But they couldn’t make it count and Bexhill began to move through them more easily with some decent passing moves of their own. The lead was doubled midway through the first half and with the home side having the second half wind the result from then on was not really in doubt. The only real danger to the points staying at the Polegrove was the pitch and the rain relented just enough to ensure that referee Robert King was never going to have make that decision.
The second half saw the Steyning bench grow more and more frustrated as game plans were not followed and certain players were picked out for not putting in enough effort. Bexhill, with a regular flow of chances and goals, obviously had a happier time. A neat blast from Cameron Burgan was followed by a calm finish from Victor Pestana. Pestana got a second on 83 minutes but by then Steyning had themselves scored and their goal was the pick of the day. A well-worked midfield play saw the ball goal wide and Rob Clark’s finish made even the home supporters applaud. The sixth and final goal came with the final touch – a header from close in. The fact that the player could coast in through a defence well aware of his presence pretty much summed up Steyning’s day.
We left with the weather about to erupt again. Rain was falling heavily by the time we got home, the wind had never stopped. The lights were presumably still on at the Polegrove as players and fans sheltered and savoured their win.
(I took a handful of photos in the opening minutes before it all got a bit unreasonable and I made my home in the stand. They are here.)