As I defrosted myself in the car on the way home the radio was singing the praises of the unpredictable Premier League. Granted this year the top division is producing more thrills and spills than it has in many a year but did any of today’s games feature a dog on the pitch, failing floodlights and a winning goal so offside that supporters were applauding the linesman? Thought not. Thus I can be satisfied that I did not waste my time as I spent my Saturday shivering at the Polegrove as Bexhill United edged out Lingfield in the Southern Combination Football League.
The first real blast of winter saw a much reduced fixture list as grounds that for weeks have been waterlogged found themselves too solid for football. The inspection here was delayed until midday to allow for a thaw. The mercury inched above freezing long enough to ensure most of the pitch was ‘heavy’ rather than frosty so we had a game. A game that was later in jeopardy as the floodlights failed to function, flicking on before flickering off multiple times. By that time Lingfield were down to ten men as Stephen Smith got a second yellow for scything down a winger only a few minutes after he got his first for the rather poor offence of deliberately blocking a free kick. The silly boy.
The visitors in red and yellow stripes held out until the 93rd minute – not even distracted by a pitch invading hound – and had plenty of chances of their own but could not keep out a header from Marc Munday. Lingfield protested, as they had done all game, that the linesman had let an obvious offside go. But their cries were all in vain and moments later the final whistle blew. The result was harsh but then, as Peter Cook observed whilst in character as an underachieving manager, football is a cruel mistress.
The result means that Bexhill move within two points of Lingfield in the middle of the Division 1 table. Neither look like leaving this division at the end of the year. Maybe when they meet next it’ll be warmer or, for those of us wanting to take a few photos, at least a little lighter.
(I brought the camera. Here are some photos.)