Bexley entered their final league game against Teviot Rangers with pride and form to play for. After an excellent win against FC Plasma last time out; the green army were out to prove this was the start of a change in form and not a one week wonder. In recognition of probably the best win of the season; Dan named an unchanged line up (a rarity in itself). Chris, Pete and eventually Laurie made up a very strong bench.
Ridiculously hot April weather made it a difficult day for gingers and strawberry blondes. The referee sensibly agreed to water breaks midway through each half allowing Bexley to take advantage of Pete’s generosity in buying Lucozades. Bexley were warming up far earlier than Teviot and looked hungrier in the early stages. Some good play was rewarded in the early minutes as the away side took an early lead. A ball into the midfield area was controlled by Muj and he fed his strike partner into the right flank. Elton beat the defence and neatly lobbed the keeper.
Within minutes Bexley doubled their lead in bizarre fashion. Dan Slade did well to win a free kick just inside the Bexley half. Sevenoaks stepped up and launched a long ball into the Teviot box. A combination of the small pitch, dry turf and goalkeeping incompetency resulting in the ball bouncing twice and the keeping completely misjudging the ball allowing the ball to travel over his head and in off the post. A goal from around 50 yards, luckier than Milwall’s cup run this season.
The game then evened out as perhaps a touch of complacency from Bexley and motivation from Teviot produced some good midfield battles, with Bexley looking to play out where possible producing varying success. A Teviot free kick saw Dan airborne, and some excellent defending of first and second balls kept the home side at arm’s length up until the water break. Speculative efforts from range would be all the home side could offer thanks to Bexley maintaining their shape.
The message was Teviot would improve as they had been somewhat disorganised in the opening stages. The water break had come at a bad time for Bexley and the performance level had to go up. This did not happen as Teviot tested the Bexley defence without testing the goalkeeper. However, Bexley were not as confident or effective in holding possession and this would cost them the first goal. With Dan Slade on the ball in his own third, he had limited options from his team mates. Eventually a thrown in was conceded and taken smartly catching out the Bexley defence as the Teviot goal scorer ran between Sean and Tom an fired through Dan’s legs. A preventable goal through giving Slade and option and defending the throw in.
This knocked Bexley’s confidence and as the second goal came from carelessly allowing the goalkeeper too much time to pick a long ball. Number 11 had been identified as a threat pre-match, and one vs one with Sean wasn’t a comfortable situation. Sean’s best efforts were in vein as he finished well off the post. Tom made a crucial block just before half time to take the score in all swauare. Bexley were by no means hanging on, but had slipped from a comfortable position and on the balance of play, 2-2 was fair at half time. Bexley re-grouped at half time. Through no fault of their own, Bryan and Adam hadn’t got into the game on the wings so Chris was bought to change things up. Muj was given a rest as Pete would offer something different up top alongside Elton. Laurie had just about tied his boots.
After the half time break it was pretty much all Bexley as Teviot rarely venuted out of their half and could only waste any half chances. The wide men were now starting to get some joy as Bexley built pressure. Sean had an effort tipped over from a Tom throw in, and then was inches away from converting an Adam free kick from close range. Sevenoaks worked the keeper from a free kick, and Ren produced a fine save from the man in the sticks. It would be another two goals in quick succession which would hand the advantage back to Bexley. The first came from a ball into the box mopped up by Elton, and slotted Pete. The versatile Lucozade provider replicated his finishing his training by giving the keeper no chance with a rifled effort. Then just after kick it was the reverse as Pete received the ball high up the pitch from the left hand side; and then fed Elton who finished clinically from close range. Both goals as a result of confident midfield play keeping Teviot under pressure. Cue another refreshing but inconvenient water break.
The message was Teviot would get better, and Bexley needed fresh legs. Laurie was introduced into midfield, Muj was put up top as Pete dropped back and Bryan came back on for Adam. Bexley had to go for the killer goal as it was too early to hold a two goal lead. However, they used their lifeline up within a few minutes of the restart as a switched ball out wide was not pressed and then the cross was misjudged by both Sean and Dan leading to a close range header. A third preventable goal.
Bexley should have been boasting 6 or 7 on the score board, yet this game now had one goal in it with twenty to play. Bexley were careful. This was beneficial as the defending was good, despite switching off from time to time. However, that killer fifth goal looked unlikely. Dan bought on Adam and dropped Muj into a five man midfield to strengthen the defensive shape and some composed team defending and desire to win saw the game out.
Bexley end the season having earned 13 more points than the previous campaign and a 40 goal improvement in the goal difference. Two wins on the bounce, ten goals scored and nothing conceded from set pieces show the work is paying off. Looking good going back into the group matches.