LITTLEHAMPTON Football Club claimed the local bragging rights over close neighbours Rustington on Easter Monday, running out comfortable 3-0 winners at The Sportsfield.
Golds were in cruise control and held a three-goal lead at the break after playing all of the football in the first half as Jason Jarvis, Peter Beadle and captain Ross McKay all found the back of Jack Bonetti’s net.
After a poor first-half showing as they rarely troubled the Golds goal, Blues came out the better side after the interval and became the side playing all the football.
Despite this, they failed to find a break-through and Golds remained solid at the back before getting back in the game, when, they could and should have added more to their tally before the final whistle.
Littlehampton boss Mark Bennett said: “I was worried that the lads wouldn’t pick themselves up after Friday, but they did, which I was pleased about.
“It’s always nice to beat your rivals and they were really fired up for it as well.
“It wasn’t the best game ever but we got through it. I said to them to keep things tight in the first 10 minutes of the second half and we did that, despite them having more about them.”
Blues manager Jon Tucker added: “They’re a very good side and if I think back I can’t really think of a time we forced their goalkeeper into a save. That was the difference, really.
“It was disappointing as it was a derby game. The second half we were playing for a bit of pride and they didn’t score again, but we just couldn’t break through them.”
Jarvis opened the scoring after five minutes as Jon Hendick’s long goal kick flew over Steve Curtis’ head. Michael Hendrick broke free, drove to the line and Jarvis turned in his low cross at the near post.
Jarvis then floated a free kick wide of the post, while Rustington’s Alex Kew blasted well over the bar.
On a wet and difficult surface, Blues’ Russ Adams was their stand-out player, and was at the start of most of their moves, requiring Golds right-back Adam Goff to be on his game.
On 24 minutes, Golds’ Mitchell Hand’s long-distance effort went close to extending the lead as it landed on the roof of the net.
Beadle, however, did double the lead on 30 minutes with a half-volley after a corner was not cleared.
Fierce tackles were flying in from both sides in keeping with the derby atmosphere, and Blues also nearly pulled one back when Adams broke free and cut into the area, but for a saving covering tackle from Adam Bibb.
Golds made it three before the break as McKay turned in Michael Hendrick’s effort past Bonetti from close range.
Despite Blues’ improvement after the break and having much more of the ball they failed to really test Jon Hendrick, who was well covered by his defence. The closest they came was when substitute Jim Bird’s header was deflected over the bar and Dan Swain’s free kick, which was easily held by Hendrick.
With five minutes to go, Littlehampton should have had a fourth when breaking three on two, but David Gaskin failed to pick out Jarvis at the far post for a simple tap in. Jarvis then blazed over the bar from close range following up Mitchell Hand’s free kick.