Billingshurst were bashed in a ‘bad day at the office’ as Bexhill United plundered five second-half goals to notch a 6-0 win and consolidate third place in Division 1.
The Pirates brought up the 50-point mark in style against a Hurst side that had won four consecutive matches before being edged out 3-2 by second-placed Alfold the previous weekend.
The first half was closely contested and although Bexhill held a narrow lead at the break having played into the stiff breeze, there was no indication that the final scoreline would be as one-sided as it was.
Billingshurst boss Luis Freitas bemoaned key defensive injuries for their second-half collapse.
He said: “Following some very good performances over the last six games or so we had to make a couple of changes and came down to earth with a bump in the second half against Bexhill, who were one of the best sides to visit us at Jubilee Fields earlier in the season.
“The first-half was very even with both sides having some good chances to break the deadlock. However, it was a controversial offside decision which allowed Bexhill’s lively number 11 to cut inside from wide to score the opening goal.
“An injury to Tom Bradshaw meant a reshuffle of the defence and we were unable to keep their number 11 at bay. Matters worsened when Matt Rendall had to come off injured and we lost our shape and organisation.
“To rub salt into our wounds the final goal was a bizarre offside decision - no VAR available! All in all a bad day at the office.”
Bexhill took a 17th minute lead when Jack McLean finished coolly when one-on-one with goalkeeper Martin Hopkins and despite chance at either end, it remained 1-0 at the break.
In the second half, Jack Shonk was first to react to the rebound and double the lead. McLean then burst into the box and was brought down for a penalty, which Ottley comfortably slotted home.
Jamie Bunn notched the next two - the fifth an inswinging corner that ended up in the net via the post and possibly another touch.
Drew Greenall’s shot then bobbled into the net through the legs of substitute Kion Parchment, who jumped to try and get out the way of the ball when in an offside position a yard from goal.
Freitas added: “We will need to be much better organised and need to play as we did against Alfold to compete against a strong Steyning side at the weekend.”