Rye Town Football Club pulled off its biggest victory since its formation in summer 2016 at The Salts yesterday (Saturday).
Shane Ridgers’ side triumphed 10-0 at home to Hastings Rangers in a Macron East Sussex Football League Premier Travel Challenge Cup second round tie between the teams lying third in the Premier Division and Division One.
Rye scored three goals in the first half and seven more during the second period on a wet afternoon to set up a home quarter-final against Bexhill AAC in the new year.
The home side threatened from several set-pieces before one finally dropped for Rob Levett to open the scoring from close range after a quarter-of-an-hour.
Richard ‘Alfie’ Weller maintained his remarkable record of scoring in every game he’s played this season with the second goal 15 minutes later. The forward brought the ball down, turned on the proverbial sixpence and smashed a left-foot shot into the far corner.
Craig Pierce made it 3-0 just before the break, driving forward from midfield and unleashing a shot from 30 yards which skipped off the wet turf over the goalkeeper’s hand.
If there was any doubt at all over the outcome at half time, Rye removed it with a fourth goal soon after the restart. Alfie Clement, making his first start, crossed for Weller to score his second with a bullet header.
By now the pitch was starting to cut up, and Rangers’ midfield simply couldn’t deal with the pace and athleticism of Pierce and Ollie Skinner.
Sam Richardson made it 5-0 with his first touch after coming on as a substitute, an unconventional yet effective header. Not long afterwards, however, Richardson contrived to hit the post from barely a yard out.
Skinner got in on the act with number six shortly after the hour, driving forward from midfield before hitting a shot which went in via a post.
Levett netted his second and Rye’s seventh from the penalty spot having been brought down by the goalkeeper. A minute later Skinner scored his second with a superb half-volley which skidded off the surface into the corner of the net, earning quite a cheer from the spectators.
Weller then completed his hat-trick with a well-executed chip into the far corner having been unsuccessful with several similar attempts prior to that.
Rye reached double figures late on. Pierce got himself in the box and after several ricochets, smashed home his second. It meant six of Rye’s 10 goals came from the unfamiliar midfield trio of Levett, Pierce and Skinner, who worked very well together.
Ridgers deputised for Joe Ramsden between the posts and pulled off a decent double save during the second half, but other than that was untroubled. At the other end, Lewis Carpenter made his first Rye start up-front.
The Pikes Cleaning man of the match was Levett and the match was sponsored by Dunes Bar, Camber.
Rye: Ridgers; Fraser, Henham (Richardson), Willis; Ball, Levett, Skinner, Pierce, Clement; Weller, Carpenter.
Rye, who have now gone a year without defeat in any competition, will begin their defence of the Robertsbridge Charity Intermediate Cup next Saturday with a first round tie at home to St Leonards Social.
Martin Brain is available and Charlie Stevens should return, but Barnaby Osborne is still out through work. Kick-off in a match sponsored by Rye Auction Galleries Ltd is 1.30pm.