The eagerly awaited first match of the season for Ringmer’s new reserve manager Paul Sergeant, Coach Lee Turner and the team got under way last night when they took on visitors Bexhill United 2nd X1. With half a dozen new faces in the Blues starting line up it was going to be an interesting watch.
Bexhill started off the brighter and for the first 10 mins worked the ball up the right and had the Blues defending hard, but on 13 mins Ringmer won a free kick 20yds out which resulted in a near miss, 2 mins later the Bexhill keeper fumbled a save and Rob Frost was quick to pounce on and shoot but it was pushed out for a corner. Another corner on 18 mins for the Blues had the keeper making a desperate finger tip save to push the ball over the bar after his own defender headed it in. Finally on 24 mins this period of pressure from the Blues paid off after Captain Tim Johnson took a free kick 22 yds out on the left, across goal to meet Kiefer Ardean-Webb’s perfectly timed run in who headed in passed the keeper. At the restart Ringmer drove forward again with the Blues showing a bit more confidence and a good passing move ended with Ryan Betsworth getting a shot in that just went over the bar.
On the half hour the visitors broke through the middle in a surprise attack which caused a bit of confusion in defence, Ringmer Goalkeeper, Jamie Skates ran out towards the striker who chipped the ball over Skates head, defenders and keeper managed to clear the ball of the goal line but in the rush back to goal Skates crashed head first into the boards behind his goal and needed attention fortunately Jamie was ok to carry on.
Ringmer continued their attack and looked the better team at this point having numerous chances at goal, Both Betsworth and Titus Patterson going close. A spectacular lofted shot from Louis Munnery from 25 yds out on the left sailed across the field passed the keeper and straight into the far corner of the net for the Blues second goal. There seemed to be no stopping Munnery as a few minutes later he picked up the ball on the half way line and weaved his way towards goal finally banging in another shot that went inches wide.
Bexhill made a last effort just before the half time whistle, they again pushed up the right and with a good cross got a shot in, Skates managed to push the ball out but only to an opposing player who netted the loose ball to score, 2-1. The Blues came back determined and headed for goal and it seemed they got a third after a shot rebounded off the visitors goal post where it was banged in again for a goal, but to every Blues disbelief it was given offside? The half ended 2-1 to Ringmer.
The second half and Ringmer again look a bit shaky at the start as Bexhill hit the side netting after 4 mins, a quick change for the Blues as Dougie Saunders made way for Alex Fleming in midfield. On 57 minutes Johnson got a good cross in from the right only for Betsworth’s header to skim the crossbar. Another change as Ben Uhur is exchanged for Steve Hickman-Smith at the back.
Ten minutes in and Bexhill hit back again with an almost identical offside goal disallowed as the Blues had earlier. The two teams at this stage seemed to be equal in play and both were putting some good passes together rather than the excitable kick and dash. Johnson,Betsworth, Patterson and Frost linking up well in play creating many chances. On 70 mins Frost narrowly missed scoring after a pass bounced high in front of him and the goal but seemed to hang in the air forever, causing him to scuff it just wide.
Bexhill counter attack and work their way down field and score the equalizer through a defensive error, 2-2 . After the restart Betsworth again on a run beats a defender and the oncoming keeper but again his shot went inches wide. Ringmer’s third change was enforced when the hard working Frost had to retire with cramp, this allowed the appearance of Ryan Moore who had a shot go wide after a few minutes on the field. A few minutes later Moore made a good pass to Alex Fleming whos shot forces the keeper to palm it away. A free kick on 80 mins from Munnery also had the keeper diving to palm it round the post.
Bexhill looked very dangerous when it came to their corner taking and the supporters had quite a few heart in the mouth moments from the many corners they had in the last 10 mins. But it was the Blues who won through with an excellent free kick in from Johnson which again found the head of Ardean-Webb to score the winning goal from 6yds out for the Blues in the last moments of the match.
For a first showing Ringmer did well, a bit scrappy at times but as the match progressed the football was showing through. Bexhill were a good strong side and were also playing some good football, the final score of 3-2 to Ringmer I think probably suited both teams performance on the day.