Rye Town Football Club twice came from behind to continue its winning start to the season.
Town recovered from 1-0 and 2-1 down to win 4-2 at home to Crowhurst in the Macron East Sussex Football League Premier Division on Saturday.
The win did come at a bit of cost, though, because influential defender Dominic Cruttenden pulled his hamstring again in the first five minutes and fears he may be sidelined until after Christmas.
It was very much the proverbial game of two halves from a Rye point of view, with the second period a good deal better than the first.
Rye manager Shane Ridgers described his team’s performance during a frustrating opening period as flat and lacking intensity with players seemingly going through the motions.
Ridgers felt his team went too direct instead of going through the midfield, but only a fantastic double save by Crowhurst goalkeeper Sean Hankinson to deny Charlie Stevens prevented Rye going in front.
With frustration building among the home ranks, Crowhurst drew first blood on the stroke of half time. The unmarked Stephen Greenfield scored from a corner - the first goal Rye have conceded all season.
Ridgers and assistant manager Chris Gould delivered some stern words at half time, and got the response they were after as Rye were a completely different side after the turnaround.
Richard ‘Alfie’ Weller got them back on level terms within four minutes of the resumption, but Crowhurst led again shortly before the hour. A fantastic cross between defender and goalkeeper allowed Steven McGowan to tap into an empty net.
Rye looked the fitter side and the chances started to come as the contest wore on. Ridgers changed the formation to a 4-3-3 shape, bringing on forward Rob Levett for defender Joe Fraser, and soon afterwards Weller netted his fifth goal in three matches to make it 2-2.
Rye hit the front for the first time in the 70th minute. Stevens was brought down as he tried to round the goalkeeper and although his subsequent spot-kick was saved, he reacted quickly to tuck away the rebound.
Levett sealed the victory with a typical penalty box finish in the 82nd minute as Rye moved up to second in the table - three points behind leaders Hollington United having played a game less.
Craig Pierce was the Pikes Cleaning man of the match for his non-stop running up and down the pitch, and the match sponsor was Mark Hoad from Sheriscafe, Rye Harbour.
Rye: Ramsden; Fraser (Levett), Cruttenden (Willis), Osborne; Henham, Foulkes, Brain, Pierce, Richardson; Weller, Stevens. Sub not used: Hibbs.
Rye will turn their attention to the knockout competitions over the next two weekends, starting with a Premier Travel Challenge Cup first round tie away to Division One team The JC Tackleway this coming Saturday. Kick-off at Barley Lane is 2.30pm.
With Cruttenden injured and Barnaby Osborne unavailable, Rye are a bit short on defenders. Ridgers has, however, re-signed Rob Wilson and hopes to include him in the squad.