RUSTHALL suffered their second league defeat of the season at the hands of a young and unfamiliar Phoenix Reserves side.
The pitch at the Jockey Stadium was still wet in places after the midweek crunch game against Glebe had to be called off.
The grass needed sanding and the resulting bumpy surface hampered Rusthall’s normal passing game.
After 10 minutes Rusthall’s keeper Sean Ingleson produced a superb save to keep out Lewis Addlick’s equally fine shot from just inside the area.
Two minutes before half-time, leading scorer Andy Constable went close but his first time effort flew just wide of the goal.
Dan Mitchell rose high at the far post but his firm header was well saved by Alex Jones, the young Phoenix keeper.
But Phoenix looked most likely to break the deadlock and it was no surprise that they did so on 61 minutes.
Kenny Aileru showed a great turn of pace to race into the box before squaring to Lewis Addlick, who finished neatly at the near post.
Rusthall now needed to show the character that has seen them on top the table for most of the season but they were struggling to get any sort of control of the game.
As they chased the game Phoenix caught them on the break in the 88th minute through Jonny Miller to make it 2-0.
Next Rustics visit high-flying Sutton Athletic and although they have won recent games they have been far from convincing.
They need to get back to their previous high standard if they are to complete the season in the top two and earn promotion to the Premier Division of the Southern Counties East League.
The disappointment was at least softened when news came through that rivals K Sports had only drawn 1-1 away at FC Elmstead.