Rye hit rivals for six to reach semi-finals

Rye Town midfielder Sammy Foulkes tussles with Westfield's Curtis Coombes. Picture by Simon Newstead
Rye Town midfielder Sammy Foulkes tussles with Westfield's Curtis Coombes. Picture by Simon Newstead

Rye Town’s footballers cruised through to their second cup semi-final of the season with a big victory over higher grade opposition.

Macron East Sussex Football League Division One leaders Rye won 6-0 at home to Premier Division strugglers Westfield II in a Robertsbridge Charity Intermediate Cup quarter-final on Saturday.

Rye, who are also through to the last four of the Hastings & District FA Junior Cup, scored twice in the first half and four times during the second period on a spring-like afternoon at The Salts.

Although the tie was rather one-sided in the end, it looked as if it could be a close game during a fairly physical opening half-an-hour.

Westfield fought hard and had some good spells early on, but Rye possess players who can compete in a battle as well as play football, and they gradually settled down and knocked the ball around.

Rye opened the scoring after half-an-hour through a magnificent goal from Ben Heffernan, who latched on to a throughball and produced a great first time strike from 15 yards into the top corner.

Rye Town celebrate one of their goals.

Rye Town celebrate one of their goals.

They doubled their advantage in rather comical fashion two minutes later. Heffernan’s ball across the box flashed past Richard ‘Alfie’ Weller and Charlie Stevens looked to have a tap in. The ball bobbled and Stevens missed it completely, but he recovered quickly to chip it back in for Weller to head home.

Rye went three-up in the 66th minute when Stevens’ low free kick from the left was turned home from close range by Dominic Cruttenden.

The fourth goal also came from a set-piece 11 minutes later. Sammy Foulkes delivered a free kick from the right which was headed into the far corner by the unmarked Weller for his seventh goal in the last three matches.

Rye defender Luke Willis produced a brilliant goal-line block to prevent Curtis Coombes from pulling one back from a rare Westfield chance.

Ben Heffernan tussles for the ball with the Westfield goalkeeper and a defender.

Ben Heffernan tussles for the ball with the Westfield goalkeeper and a defender.

Rye made it 5-0 in slightly amusing fashion in the 87th minute. Rob Wilson’s good little ball over the Westfield defence caused all sorts of problems, but for a second or so it seemed no Rye player wanted to stick the ball in the net until Stevens eventually did so.

The sixth goal came from yet another set-piece in the 89th minute. Westfield’s goalkeeper could only get a fingertip to Stevens’ right wing corner and Foulkes headed in from virtually on the line.

Rye almost added a seventh right at the end, but the Westfield goalkeeper made a good save with his feet to thwart Stevens.

Heffernan was the Pikes Cleaning man of the match and the match sponsor was Morpheys Removals Ltd.

Rye will visit The JC Tackleway or Hawkhurst United in a semi-final which is due to be played on Saturday March 11.

Rye: Ridgers; Wilson, Cruttenden, Willis; Heffernan, Henham, Foulkes, Hurley (Fraser), Gould (Ball); Stevens, Weller (Levett).

Rye have the chance to clinch promotion in league tomorrow (Saturday).

A victory away to fifth-placed Wadhurst United will make absolutely sure of finishing in one of the two promotion positions and a top two finish will also be secured if second-placed Crowhurst fail to beat third-placed Bexhill Town.

See our comprehensive sports coverage in the Observer every Friday.

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