East Sussex Football League
Bexhill Rovers 1-2 South Coast Athletico
Saturday 9th March 2019
Chopbacks end league season on a high
The Chopbacks league campaign drew to a close this Saturday, a win would secure promotion to the ESFL Division 2, but home team and League winners Bexhill Rovers (who only dropped points in one match the entire season) stood in their way.
Both teams were suffering from the effects of a long hard season with many players injured or carrying injuries.
The match was going to be a good game with plenty of talking points, but referee Christian Michael took the limelight issuing nearly a hundred pounds worth of fines in what was probably the best tempered, cleanest game of the season leaving both teams and their respective management furious, astounded and confused.
In a show of sportsmanship, Coast clapped league championship Rovers onto the pitch.
Both teams were equal in the first half, Coast opting to play a defensive formation, a few half chances fell to both teams, the most significant was a rocketing strike by Rovers which drew out a fine save from Athletico’s golden gloves keeper ‘The Cat’ Ben Tate.
Rovers broke the deadlock with some fast reaction and gambling by their number 9 who left his marker and sailed through Coasts box to tap home a fantastically weighted cross.
Nearing the end of the first half, Chopback forward Connor Easton had two bites of the cherry in one sitting, an attempted chipping of the home teams keeper straying wide, the follow up shot hitting the post.
Second half South Coast made a personnel change bringing on up and coming Chopback star Ryan Fuller to add some attacking aggression.
The change bought work rate and firepower causing Coast to step up a gear.
The home team began to feel the pressure, but there was little they could do, their only threat really came from a few free kicks, but non troubled the Cat.
At the other end, Rovers keeper was their star man making a few excellent saves drawing applause from both fan sets on the side lines.
But, 70 mins in, Connor Easton dug deep and worked hard to create a deflected shot, then battled to pick up the loose ball and whipped a perfect shoulder height fast cross looping into rovers box.
Centre back Dayle McGurk lost his battle with gravity diving to get his head on it, but at the back post was Coast left back Charley Adams who stumbled the equaliser home.
6 Minutes from time produced a dramatic moment.
Ryan fuller picked up a through ball, powered into Rovers box and as he attempted to shoot was fouled, the referee pointed to the spot.
Up stepped Coasts resident Geordie, Lee Finnigan, who absolutely slammed the ball home hard to the right of the flailing keeper to give the Chopbacks the lead.
The game was more or less Coast on the attack after that, the only thing Rovers got hold of was yellow cards which took the shine off of what was a very good game.
The home team threatening to walk off the pitch towards the end if another yellow was raised after collecting several for what either team considered fair challenges.
The match ended with Athletico securing promotion.
After the match the referee said he had been instructed by the FA to not allow any fouls go unpunished, perhaps some warnings may have been appropriate one may question?
Man of the match, steely, speedy Ryan Fuller who created nothing but problems for the home team.
Athletico’s final game of the season comes on 26th march in their cup final against Victoria Baptists.
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