Football: Prolific Smith levels twice to give Rustics a deserved point

Pam Mills

RUSTHALL came away from Foxbury Avenue with a hard-earned point after drawing with Glebe, who had been promoted with them from Southern Counties East League Division One last season.

The Rustics handed full debuts to three players, James Jordan, Yannick Tchoundjin and keeper James Holdsworth.

The home side were soon in the ascendency and their pressure told when Rusthall gave the ball away 25 yards out and a speculative shot squeezed in at the near post.

But that did not dent the Rustics’ confidence and within five minutes they had equalised. Michael Tubba played a decent ball in behind the Glebe defence and Steve Smith latched on to it, drove into the box and shot across the keeper.

The half continued at a frantic pace and the best chance fell to Steph Harper, who hit the underside of the bar from three yards out after the ball rebounded to him off the keeper.

The second half could not have started worse for Rusthall. A corner was given away needlessly and Glebe took the lead with a powerful header from close range.

Once more Rusthall responded and kept pushing hard. After a driving run by Tchoundjin, Smith scored from close range to level the scores again.

The striker, who has scored 10 goals in 12 starts since joining the club in October, then hit the bar with a header, while Holdsworth made two excellent saves late on to preserve their point.

Rusthall remain in 18th place, and the crucial home game with bottom-of-the-table Rochester United, 10 points behind them, was postponed because of a waterlogged pitch.

They now face a difficult away game at sixth-placed AFC Croydon Athletic on Saturday (March 17, kick-off 3pm).

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