Kerry Hardwell took great pride from ten-man Rustington’s impressive SCFL Division 2 win at fellow title-chasers Roffey on Saturday.
A Josh Irish double and goals from Declan Jenkins and Krzysztof Paraficz wrapped up a 4-1 triumph for table-toppers Blues.
But the victory was not without difficulty for Rustington.
Leading 2-0 with less than a minute of the first half remaining, skipper Alex MacIver was shown a second yellow card after fouling a home player in the box and the resulting spot-kick was put away by Patrick O’Sullivan.
Yet Rustington managed to strike twice after the restart to run out 4-1 winners over Roffey, who started the day in second.
Blues still remain just a point clear at the summit, although Copthorne are now in second following Roffey’s slip up.
Rustington boss Hardwell hailed his side’s efforts in a week where he also became a father.
He said: “I was proud of the boys putting on a superb team performance away from home against a good Roffey side, especially playing with ten men for the second half.
“This result topped off a great week for me personally after becoming a dad.
“The boys really did the club proud with a fantastic attitude and performance.”
A Regan Miles long throw caused confusion in the Roffey box and frontman Irish was pushed to the floor in the area, with a penalty awarded. Blues’ leading scorer dusted himself down to fire the visitors ahead.
The impressive Paraficz was then on hand to head home on the half-hour.
But Rustington had MacIver shown a second yellow card a minute prior to the interval for fouling an opposition player in the area. O’Sullivan slammed home the resulting spot-kick to give Roffey a huge lift. Blues stood up to the task brilliantly, though. A tidy finish from Jenkins made it 3-1 two minutes after the restart.
Rustington were in complete control and Irish grabbed his second to round off the win for the league leaders.
Blues take on Upper Beeding in a League Cup semi-final clash at The Lashmar on Wednesday (7.30pm).
RUSTINGTON: Nash; Anderton, Gilchrist, MacIver, R.Miles, O’Connor, Paraficz, Jenkins, Darwin, Irish, Ryder. Subs: Llewellyn, Chick, Peters, Bennett.
Have you read?