Hardwell praises unbeaten Rustington's 'much better display' in Rottingdean Village win

Rustington, in blue and in action earlier in the season against Upper Beeding, maintained their unbeaten start to the season with a 2-1 home win over Rottingdean Village on Saturday in Division 2. Picture by Derek Martin.
Rustington, in blue and in action earlier in the season against Upper Beeding, maintained their unbeaten start to the season with a 2-1 home win over Rottingdean Village on Saturday in Division 2. Picture by Derek Martin.

Rustington boss Kerry Hardwell felt a few more goals would have made it ‘the perfect performance’ as they beat Rottingdean Village 2-1 at home in Division 2 on Saturday.

The Blues took the lead on the stroke of half-time through a Joe Irish penalty but James Hunt struck for Rottingdean on the hour to level.

Substitute Aaron Meehan’s goal on 70 minutes proved to be the winner as Rustington maintained their unbeaten start to the league.

Hardwell said: “It was a hard fought victory against a high-flying Rottingdean. The boys came out of the blocks earlier and in all honesty Rottingdean were pretty much camped in their own half for the first 20 minutes.

“It was a deserved three points for the boys. A few more goals would have been the perfect performance however we are still unbeaten and it was a much better display all round from all the boys.”

The hosts were awarded a penalty early in the first-half after a foul on Steve Kirkham, but Irish’s spot kick was saved by Village ‘keeper Thomas Yeates.

Just before the half-time break Kirkham was once again brought down in the penalty area, but this time Irish smashed home to net his 13th goal of the season and to give Rustington the lead.

The Blues were slow to get going in the second-half and they were punished for their sluggish start. Hunt’s strike on 62 minutes flew past Billy Nash in the Rustington goal to level for Rottingdean.

The home side found the winner on 70 minutes as substitute Meehan’s strike took a deflection to beat the Village ‘keeper to put them 2-1 up.

As the final whistle went, the game finished 2-1 and Rustington’s fine early season league form continued.

The Blues now sit in third in Division 2 on 19 points after nine games, and are just four points behind leaders Cowfold with a game in hand.

Up next for Rustington is a home tie against Bosham in the first round of the SCFA Intermediate Cup on Saturday.

Rustington: Nash, Llewellyn, Gilchrist, John, R. Miles, Jenkins, Hudson, Peters, Darwin, Irish, Kirkham. Subs: Meehan, Bennett, O. Miles.