DAN MITCHELL scored twice as Rusthall gave Crowborough Athletic a scare in an entertaining derby in the Southern Counties East League Premier Division.
The Crows are groundsharing with Maidstone United at the Gallagher stadium until their 3G pitch is installed.
They got off to a flying start in midweek, scoring after only 91 seconds. Tom Phipp played a ball inside to Henry Muggeridge, who drove left-footed across keeper Joe Cullip into the bottom corner.
Rusthall’s equaliser arrived on the half-hour when Stewart Gostlow pumped a long free-kick into the penalty area and Mitchell rose at the far post to plant his hanging header over the keeper
The Rustics were impressive and went into the interval all square. They came close to taking the lead on the hour-mark when Mitchell wrapped his left-foot around the ball to hook his volley on the turn agonisingly past the right-hand post.
But Crowborough grabbed hold of the game by the throat as their quality shone through, and they took the lead with 20 minutes to go.
Connor Pring produced a sublime pass to put Tom Pearson through. His low left-footed drive went across the keeper to find the bottom far corner from the edge of the box.
Manager Sean Muggeridge then brought on Sam Carrington, and the classy forward instantly took just 90 seconds to make an impact. He played a one-two with Sam Crabb before beating Cullip.
Crowborough were now a dominant force and Carrington turned his man inside the area and shot on the turn. Cullip parried the shot but the ball trickled over the line.
The visitors pulled a second goal back with a minute remaining. Ryan Waterman delivered a deep cross towards the far post and Mitchell buried his towering header into the top corner from close range â€” his fifth goal in seven games.
Joint manager Steven Ashmore said: “The boys are showing what we can do and they’re all pulling together. They all want to work for each other.
“They appreciate the fact that we’re still learning and sometimes we are going to get games like this. We’re in a tough league.”