Five-star Rustington see off Worthing Town to seal quarter-final spot

Striker Josh Irish bagged a hat-trick as Rustington secured their spot in the Sussex Intermediate Cup quarter-finals.

Chris Darwin also weighed in with a double to take Kerry Hardwell’s troops to a thumping 5-2 third round victory over SCFL Division 2 rivals Worthing Town at the Recreation Ground on Saturday.

Rustington celebrate a goal against Worthing Town. Picture: Stephen Goodger

Rustington celebrate a goal against Worthing Town. Picture: Stephen Goodger

Free-scoring Blues, who have netted 16 goals in their previous three fixtures, now have a last eight tie to look forward to in the new year.

Rustington boss Hardwell was pleased with the way his side adapted to the tough conditions to come through.

He said: “This was another solid team performance from the boys in a game that wasn’t played in the greatest conditions.

“Worthing Town came to us unbeaten four games so we knew we were going to be in for a tough afternoon.

“We started the game well and adapted to the conditions, finding ourselves two up inside 20 minutes.

“In the first half, especially, we played our best football in recent weeks.”

Hardwell was forced to make one change to the team that were 7-2 winners over Jarvis Brook last time out.

The suspended Gary Peters made way for Jack Anderton.

Rustington were quickly two goals to the good.

Darwin struck twice in under a minute inside the opening 20 minutes.

A superb team move was then finished off by Irish on the half-hour mark to put Blues 3-0 up at the break.

Irish then had his second three minutes after the restart to put Rustington in total command.

But Town pulled a goal back through Harry Cranford’s penalty 15 minutes from time.

Rustington quickly restored their four-goal advantage, though, with Irish firing home from the spot to complete his hat-trick after 87 minutes.

Ryan Warr pulled another back seconds later but Rustington recorded a 5-2 victory.

Hardwell’s team, still unbeaten and second in the league, welcome leaders and rivals Angmering Seniors for a crucial top-of-the-table battle on Saturday.