Away league match played on 04 December 2016.
Kicked off at 10:30 AM

The halfway point in the league season saw Bexley Athletic travel up the A2 to face 4th placed New London. The Charlton based team 5 points ahead on Bexley Athletic having played a game more; so a loss would have been very costly for the away side.

On a bitterly cold morning, Bexley took a squad of 15 to the game and looked to replicate an excellent performance against Cutty Sark the week before. Elton returned to partner Klavs up front, and Pete made a much welcomed return to the back three. Rob went out for a meal.

It was a good time to play New London as they were in poor form, and experiencing ill-discipline within the squad. Two red cards the week before gave Bexley an idea of what they were up against. The away side were rather fortuitous New London didn’t take advantage of a rather lack luster start, with half the team appearing to be asleep of stunned by the artic conditions. Touches were poor, passes were slack and decision making was slow and weak. Excellent defensive shape would nullify New London possession until Bexley got a foothold in the game.

Against the run of play Bexley would take the lead. Deliveries into the box were an area of improvement from previous weeks, and this one was bang on the money. Olly delivered, Sean with the slowest sprint ever recorded caused chaos and met the ball with sweet contact; and Elton thieved the goal on the line to the delight of the footballing world.

New London were frustrated as the Bexley defensive shut out was working. Bryan getting wiped out was symptomatic of New London’s lack of ideas as Bexley continued to threaten on the counter attack and from set pieces. More chances could have perhaps been created if Bexley were braver; looking to play instead of going very direct against a team who’s 4th place league position was flattering.

Nonetheless, the best chances in the match belonged to the legends in green. Dan Pirlo Slade opened up New London from defensive midfield. The pass was a pass of beauty and had Elton licking his lips as he was in on the right. The keeper came wondering giving the Thiery Henry wanabee the opportunity to find the far corner to give Bexley a commanding lead.

The game should have been over by half time. The New London keeper pulled off an incredible point blank save to deny Elton a first half hat trick after Chris did phenomenally well down the left side and cut the ball back. The versatile number 11 then came agonisingly close to a deserved first goal of the season when he struck from range leaving the keeper all ends up, only to hit the angle of post and bar just before half time.

Bexley were unchanged going into the second half with the intention of securing that killer third goal. A patient approach was taken, allowing New London to play harmless sideways passes and run into a green wall. Tom, Sean and Pete also dealt with almost every ball into the box well. Composure and bravery when under pressure were a key part of the shut out; with players staying switched on at set pieces and prepared to dive in front of shots like warriors where required. Well-deserved luck occurred when a shot sneaked through, only to hit the outside of the post.

The entire Bexley squad played their part for the team, with Jack and Sam both coming on and being effective at wing back; and Josh chasing, disrupting and winning 50/50s in the middle. Nothing to choose between Bryan and Josh today, both playing as well as each other. Klavs covered the yards when called upon despite putting his ankle back together for the 157th time in his Bexley career; and Adam would produce some potent balls into the opposition box and down the right flank.

More goals perhaps should have occurred, especially when Olly had the freedom of Greenwich to tap in if only Elton pulled the ball back, Josh had a volley blocked from a corner, and Elton struck narrowly wide. However chances created were welcome, even if they were missed. The defensive shut out up the other end was equally as satisfying; with New London produced no shots on target. Dan’s brilliance was not required today.

A rather ugly end to the game with some handbags, but this would not over shadow Bexley’s best win in the past two seasons. 16 points exceeds the total from the previous season in division one and builds a firm platform for the second half of the season. If easy points are not squandered against poor opposition, Bexley will climb the table. Very much looking up not down.

What a weekend. Chelsea top of the league, Bexley Athletic win, and West Ham lost. Historic!

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