Rye in seventh heaven after biggest victory

Rye Town's man of the match Charlie Stevens scored a hat-trick in the first 21 minutes.
Rye Town's man of the match Charlie Stevens scored a hat-trick in the first 21 minutes.

Rye Town Football Club pulled off its biggest win so far to go six points clear at the top of the table.

Charlie Stevens bagged a hat-trick in the opening quarter as Rye ran out 7-0 winners at home to Little Common II in Macron East Sussex Football League Division One on Saturday.

Although Common were second in the table at kick-off, it was clear from very early on they were fielding a very different side from the one which ran Rye close in the reverse fixture four weeks previously.

Closing down opponents in a flash, Stevens was untouchable and could have had five in the opening half-hour had it not been for a couple of fine saves from the away goalkeeper.

It took him just five minutes to open his account. After Rob Wilson's header at a corner was blocked on the line, Stevens got the final touch as around three Rye players converged on the ball to knock it home.

Stevens made it 2-0 from the penalty spot five minutes later and completed his treble in the 21st minute, using his pace to round the goalkeeper, who came rushing out of his area, before tapping into the empty net.

Sam Henham struck twice in the second half to seal Rye's 7-0 win.

Sam Henham struck twice in the second half to seal Rye's 7-0 win.

Chris Gould, playing up-front with Stevens, added number four in the 34th minute. Gould poked the ball home with his second touch after appearing to fluff his first effort with the goal at his mercy from a Stevens cross.

Two minutes later it was 5-0. A good team move from back to front ended with Ollie Skinner making a Frank Lampard-style late run into the box to knock the ball home.

Rye added two more after the break, both from captain Sam Henham at corners. His first was a header and the other, in the 89th minute, was a volley into the top corner from six yards.

Although not quite as penetrative as they had been in the first half, particularly after Stevens was substituted, Rye still carved out plenty of opportunities.

George Ball was guilty of a couple of misses, one of which resulted in a lost ball in the car park. Common's goalkeeper also pulled off a few decent saves, while his opposite number Richard 'Alfie' Weller was a mere spectator for most of the game.

Stevens, whose second treble in three games took his tally to 14 league goals for the season - four more than anyone else in the division, was the Pikes Cleaning man of the match.

Joe Fraser performed well during a rare start on the left and Martin Brain displayed phenomenal workrate on the opposite flank in a match sponsored by Bosun's Bite. Kelvin Wall capably took charge of the Rye side with manager Shane Ridgers unwell.

Rye: Weller; Wilson, Cruttenden, Osborne; Brain (Cooke), Henham, Hurley, Skinner, Fraser; Gould (Levett), Stevens (Ball). Sub not used: Willis.

Rye will be eager to avoid any unwanted slip-ups when they travel to bottom-of-the-table and still winless Mountfield United tomorrow (Saturday). Levett, Barnaby Osborne, Kevin Earl and Frank Walker are among half-a-dozen absentees.

See our comprehensive sports coverage in the Observer every Friday.

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