Opponents: Woolwich 90 (Division 1)
Competition- Dewar Shield
Bexley fell to their first defeat of the season but were no means disgraced by stronger opposition on paper. A fine effort from both sides would have entertained the neutral; the game was open with both teams going for the win. Pete made enforced changes. Elton struck down by a headache. Laurie struck down by a party. Steve unavailable. Louis played the number 10 role with Lee, Adam holding midfield, and Lee slotting back into defence.
Bexley were better in the opening exchanges and fashioned some early opportunities. The ball was worked into James left side of the six yard box who hit a sweet volley just wide. The number nine then scored with a fine left footed strike after taking the ball down with an impressive piece of skill; but the goal was wrongly ruled out for offside. Shortly after, a corner produced a scramble ending with an air shot a few yards out from Kev. Bexley were by far the better team in the opening quarter, Sam and Matty B amongst many playing well defensively.
Despite Woolwich getting back into the game as the half went on, it was still very much against the run of play that the home side would take the lead. A free kick was kick was delivered, and blocked. Bexley’s response to the second ball was defended beyond badly; and Dan’s attempt to save the strike 12 yard strike wasn’t something to shout about either. 1-0 was the score at half time.
Pete switched the formation to 4-4-2 at half time to kerb some of the pointless bickering going on. The game was more even; end to end at times with both teams coping under pressure. Dan parried away a strong shot which came through a group of players and Louis had a speculative effort hit over. Bexley then equalised through James Hall, who collected the ball in midfield and opened up the defence. Maybe encouraged by some erratic play from the Woolwich 90 keeper earlier in the game, James hit a long range shot which flew over the flailing arm of the goalkeeper into the net.
Woolwich immediately responded and were pushing to regain the lead ASAP. Bexley failed to play to the whistle when Mark got kicked in the face and the referee played on. Dan saved down low. Then Woolwich struck the bar with a dipping effort, with Dan clawing out the rebound. The Bexley keeper having his busiest game of the season by some distance. Bexley battled through this difficult period and took the lead on the other side. James received the ball deep on the left, and cut inside Daniel Sturridge esk to finish low from a tight angle.
The lead didn’t last long as Woolwich re-took the lead with a magnificent free kick into the top corner. Three goals conceded from set pieces in two games will need addressing. Elton was introduced for Adam as Bexley pushed for the win. Louis, James, and Elton were linking up well and a promising love triangle may have been born. The number 14 shortly had an effort whipped across the face of the goal. Bexley looked particularly threatening from long throws and corners but just couldn’t find the net. Elton very nearly gave Bexley the lead from a close range header, but the cross was just too far behind the impact substitute.
Dan had made further saves, most notably at the feet of the striker after Bexley were opened up, but it would later prove one counter attack too many. With players committed forward, Bexley found themselves defending a three vs two which was worked to perfection by Woolwich, working an easy tap in. Bexley tried to respond, with Kev continuing to run his socks off as he had done all game but the final whistle would bring to an end a fascinating contest and Bexley’s unbeaten start. To the neutral, Woolwich did not look like a team playing a Division higher than Bexley which is credit to Baulsom’s men.