Football: Rusthall keep up hopes of survival by beating Croydon

Football: Rusthall keep up hopes of survival by beating Croydon
PLAY TIME: The Rustics celebrate with supporters after Nodi Bobomuradov’s winner PHOTO: Joe Croker

RUSTHALL secured a vital three points against the bottom club in the Southern Counties East League Premier to send Croydon down and offer some hope for their own chances of avoiding the other relegation spot.

However, victories for their fellow strugglers Punjab United and Hollands & Blair, who won 4-0 at Tunbridge Wells, did little to help their cause.

This was a highly entertaining match for the neutral but a heart-attack inducing one for the teams’ fans.

Any thoughts of it being a tight match due to its importance vanished after two minutes when Rusthall failed to defend a corner and the ball came out to Tunde Olawabi, who scored.

Rusthall went on the offensive and nearly equalised when Raul Powell-Downey broke through the Croydon defence and shot across goal but just wide of the post.

It didn’t take long for the equaliser to come. In the eighth minute, a free kick was sent out to Tom Cameron on the right and he crossed the ball to the far post, where James Miles, just back from injury, headed home.

In the 19th minute a free kick was awarded to Croydon on the edge of the Rusthall penalty area, which was driven into the box and an own goal was scored from close range.

The visitors went in 2-1 ahead at half-time, and Rusthall came out all guns blazing in the second half and dominated the game.

They finally equalised in the 58th minute when Powell-Downey blasted a shot on to the underside of the bar and into the goal.

Four minutes later the same player picked up the ball on the left, cut across several defenders and fired an unstoppable shot into the goal.

It looked all over with Rusthall’s dominance but this season that has never been the case. On a rare Croydon attack Aaron McGuigan in the Rusthall goal came out to clear but Kasim Sandah put the ball over him and into the net, making it 3-3 in the 74th minute.

Rusthall brought on two attacking players, Charley Clover and Nodirbek Bobomuradov, and with 10 minutes remaining Bobomuradov emulated Powell-Downey, cutting in from the right to unleash a powerful shot that flew into the net.

Rusthall now have a weekend off before a pivotal game at home to Hollands & Blair, who are two places and six points ahead of them, on Saturday April 20 [kick-off 3pm].

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