London & South East Regional Women's League
The Polegrove, Bexhill-on-Sea
Admission and Programme: None
Match Rating: 3
This was a rare Sunday football fix for me these days, and an equally rare dose of women's football, inspired by a desire to stay local and have a cheap afternoon out.
There have been no changes to the Polegrove since my last visit 20 months ago, and so it remains a ground that has a fair amount of charm and character, with its fabulously imposing mock Tudor brick and timber grandstand standing proud by the half way line, and with the ground's location very close to the seafront ensuring a biting wind on many a winter's day. No programmes were produced for this game.
This match was in the fifth tier of the women's football pyramid, and Bexhill have struggled since being promoted into this league this season, having won just once and lost their remaining seven league games so far this season. They went into this match one off the bottom in the twelve team division. Maidstone finished in fourth place in this division last season, and were in seventh place going into this game, but with games in hand against most teams above them. They have won three and drawn one of their five games so far.
On a very overcast afternoon, made chilly by the predictable strong winds coming off of the sea, this turned out to be a surprisingly very good game of football, with some decent skill on show. It was the visitors who deservedly took the lead on 21 minutes, The forward dribbled forward from deep towards goal, and upon reaching the area, took her time and a few touches before slotting the ball low just inside the post. Maidstone doubled their lead on 41 minutes. When their player found herself in lots of space to the right of the penalty area, it seemed certainly she would roll the ball across goal for a tap-in for a teammate, however instead she drove towards goal before firing a shot in at the keeper's near post. 0-2 was a fair reflection of the first half, in which Bexhill battled gamely but Maidstone looked superior in every department and might have been disappointed that they did not have a more convincing lead at the interval.
Maidstone continued their superiority into the second half, creating further chances to extend their lead, but it was Bexhill who surprisingly scored the next goal on 66 minutes, Nicky Pym tucking the ball home from an angle after an initial shot was parried by the keeper. That certainly encouraged Bexhill to push forward, and they went on to have their best period of the game, and they looked certain to equalise five minutes from time, when they had a couple of gentle goalbound shots blocked in quick succession following a corner, but they couldn't find an equaliser that, in truth, they would not have deserved. This was a good advert for the women's game, played at quite a fast tempo, and with good skill on show.