Rye Town Football Club powered to its biggest win of the season with a splendid display at The Salts on Saturday.
A Charlie Stevens hat-trick and two goals from Richard ‘Alfie’ Weller gave third-placed Rye a 5-1 success at home to fourth-placed St Leonards Social in the Macron East Sussex League Premier Division.
Rye manager Shane Ridgers said: “It was all-round a good performance that resulted in a good win. It was very impressive and I was surprised at how straightforward the game was.”
Ridgers felt that Rye could have had half-a-dozen goals during the first half of a match which was preceded by a minute’s silence to mark the Remembrance weekend, but as it was they had to settle for a two-goal lead at the break.
Weller opened the scoring in the 10th minute and Stevens, whose pace terrorised the away defence, made it 2-0 in the 33rd minute when he slotted past the goalkeeper into the net via both posts.
Rye struck twice more in the first five minutes of the second period. Weller smashed home his second from an acute angle following a great set-up by Stevens, who then got his second by latching on to a ball over the top and dinking a fine finish over the goalkeeper as he came out.
Social, who were missing the influential Brett Patten, pulled one back in the 52nd minute with just about their only real attempt of the afternoon. Golf professional Colton Alleyne-Davis was the scorer.
But Rye wrapped up a convincing win on the hour as Stevens completed his treble. The pacy forward picked up the ball in a deep position and ran at the away defence before coming across onto his left foot and curling a delightful shot into the far corner.
Stevens was the Pikes Cleaning man of the match and the match was sponsored by Sam Tollett from Empire Taxis.
Sam Henham came back in to the defence and kept one-time Rye United forward Reece Johnson very quiet. The other members of the back three, Joe Fraser and Luke Willis, also performed very well.
Barnaby Osborne was outstanding in a holding midfield role and Ollie Skinner did a good job of subduing a Social midfielder. In fact, Rye’s central midfield trio of Osborne, Skinner and Chris Gould complemented each other very well.
Stevens and Weller again performed superbly up-front, although Weller squandered several chances to have added to his tally, twice hitting the post. Craig Pierce was faultless on the wing and Sam Richardson put in another good shift.
Rye: Ramsden; Fraser, Henham, Willis; Pierce, Osborne, Skinner (Ball), Gould, Richardson (Clement); Stevens (Levett), Weller.
Rye will host Division One high-flyers Hastings Rangers in round two of the ESFL Premier Travel Challenge Cup this coming Saturday. Kick-off in a match sponsored by Dunes Bar & Restaurant is 1.30pm.
Joe Ramsden is unavailable so Ridgers will probably take over the goalkeeper’s gloves. Stevens is away and Osborne is likely to miss the next few games due to work, but Sammy Foulkes will return from suspension.
Dominic Cruttenden could now be out for the season with his long-term injury problem, but will take an active role on the sidelines, particularly when Ridgers and Gould are playing.
Langney Wanderers player Kenny Butchers has dual registered with Rye as cover.