STRONG winds added to the pressure in what was a must-win game for both teams if they were to avoid relegation from the Southern Counties East League Premier Division.
Croydon were restricted to long-range shots in the first half that were easily dealt with by keeper Aaron McGuigan despite the conditions.
Rusthall were creating some good moves down the wings but they came to nothing, leaving the score 0-0 at half-time.
The second half started as the first finished with Croydon pumping long, high balls up field and Rusthall playing neat but ineffective football.
Then on the hour-mark it all changed when Rusthall were awarded a free kick 10 yards outside the Croydon penalty box.
Man of the match Robbie Bissett stepped up and struck a superb set-piece into the back of the net to give the visitors the lead.
This really spurred Rusthall on and with Croydon pushing forward for an equaliser Charlie Clover broke away, beat his defender and passed the ball to the unmarked Steph Harper.
Harper, renowned for his clinical finishing, put the ball over the goalkeeper but wide of the goal.
Rusthall continued to break dangerously but when Nordirbek Bobmuradov picked up the ball midway into the Croydon half there didn’t look like there was much on.
However, he skipped past three defenders and smashed the ball into the Croydon net for Rusthall’s second.
Things got worse for the home side when one of their playes was sent off for a second yellow card with 10 minutes to go.
The game was petering out when Clover broke away to run at the Croydon goal, only to be stopped by a last-ditch tackle.
The result leaves Croydon rooted to the bottom of the table and with Hollands & Blair losing 3-2 to Deal Town, Rusthall are out of the relegation zone in 18th place.
But Hollands & Blair have three games in hand on the Rustics as the run-in approaches.
Rusthall have no game this weekend, but return to action at home to Bearsted on Saturday March 23 [kick-off 3pm].