Rustington Football Club’s Southern Combination League Division 2 title celebrations have been put on hold until the weekend at least.
Blues knew a draw in their home league encounter with rivals Sidlesham last night would have seen them crowned champions, but Daren Pearce’s side ran out 1-0 winners at Jubilee Field.
Jon Tucker made a number of changes for the clash with a League Cup final meeting against Bosham tomorrow night in mind.
A makeshift Blues side were unable to come away with anything, though, going down to Dan Bassil’s effort ten minutes after the restart.
Earlier in the move for the only goal of the game, Rustington were protesting the ball had gone out of play – but nothing was given.
Despite the defeat, Rustington know a point from their final two Division 2 matches this season will be enough to see them crowned champions.
And chairman Trevor Waller has every confidence they’ll lift the league title this season.
He said: “Jon (Tucker; Rustington manager) made a number of changes with the cup final against Bosham in mind.
“We still went into the game confident we could pick up the point required to win the title and I felt we deserved a draw on the balance of play.
“It wasn’t to be this time around but we’ve still got another two cracks at winning the title.
“For their goal it looked as though the ball went out of play in the build-up but nothing was given. We just have to move on from that.”
Anything other than a defeat against Sids would have seen Blues complete the second leg of a dream treble this season.
They may have missed out on that chance but Rustington can make it a second trophy in the space of just over a week when they take on league rivals Bosham in the SCFL Division 2 Challenge Cup at Pagham FC’s Nyetimber Lane on Thursday (7.30pm).
Blues chairman Waller believes the squad will not falter in their chance to be part of Rustington history.
He said: “We had a chance to rest a few players in preparation for this final.
“We’ve won the Sussex Intermediate Cup already this season, now we’re in with a chance of another trophy.
“Not many teams at our level have won the treble before, so this a great opportunity for this squad to be part of something really special this season.
“We drew both games in the league with Bosham this season and know how tough this is going to be. But we’ll go into it believing we can win and looking to make it two trophies, with the possibility of one more still this season.”
Should Rustington see off Robins in the League Cup final, they then know a point at Westfield in their SCFL Division 2 meeting at Westfield on Saturday would mean they are treble winners.
RUSTINGTON: Yates; Hurst, MacIver, Edwards, Ryder; Waller, Hooker-Meehan, Llewellyn; Curtis, C.Bennett, Harvey. Subs: J.Bennett (MacIver, 65), Searle (Waller, 70), Jenkins (Hooker-Meehan, 75), Tucker, Short.