Rye claim fourth trophy in two seasons

Rye Town Football Club celebrates after winning the Premier Travel Challenge Cup.
Rye Town Football Club celebrates after winning the Premier Travel Challenge Cup.

Rye Town Football Club claimed its fourth trophy in two seasons on Monday night.

The Macron East Sussex Football League Premier Division side lifted the Premier Travel Challenge Cup following a 2-0 win against Division One leaders Northiam 75 in the final.

Rye Town Football Club captain Sam Henham receives the Premier Travel Challenge Cup.

Rye Town Football Club captain Sam Henham receives the Premier Travel Challenge Cup.

A goal in either half from Richard ‘Alfie’ Weller and Sam Richardson gave Rye their third victory in the league’s flagship knockout competition in 12 days.

Rye manager Shane Ridgers said: “It was a good cup final played in good spirits. There was some good football, some poor football and we rode our luck at times. We didn’t play our greatest, but we always seem to do enough to get through. I’m made up with it.”

Although missing influential pair Dominic Cruttenden and Charlie Stevens through suspension and injury respectively, Rye started fairly well on a magnificent pitch at The Pilot Field, home of Hastings United FC.

Weller twice headed straight at the goalkeeper, but Rye needed a good low save from goalkeeper Joe Ramsden to keep them on level terms after Northiam hot shot Scott Embery latched on to a long ball over the Rye defence.

Joe Ramsden was Rye Town Football Club's man of the match in the Premier Travel Challenge Cup final victory over Northiam 75.

Joe Ramsden was Rye Town Football Club's man of the match in the Premier Travel Challenge Cup final victory over Northiam 75.

Ramsden later pulled off another great save while the game was still goalless as Northiam carved out the better chances. Rye took a 30th minute lead, though, when Weller got on the end of a throughball, muscled his way past a defender and poked home.

Chris Gould went off injured shortly before half time, but his replacement, Sammy Foulkes, instantly made his presence felt and went on to produce an outstanding display.

After half time, Foulkes had a confident appeal for a penalty waved away at the end of a superb solo run which took him past a handful of opponents.

Northiam were whiskers away from an equaliser when a terrific shot crashed against the underside of the crossbar and bounced down on the line before rebounding out.

Ramsden made a tremendous save with his foot from an unmarked Northiam player before Rye grabbed a crucial second goal in the 79th minute.

Northiam’s goalkeeper dropped the ball at a corner and the excellent Ollie Skinner laid it back to Sam Richardson, who fired into the far corner of the net.

Ramsden pulled off another good save towards the end as Rye completed their third cup triumph in little over a year, on top of winning the 2016/17 Division One league title.

“It was a good performance, especially with the players I didn’t have available, but that’s what a squad’s about,” added Ridgers. “You’ve got to utilise the players you’ve got.

“It could’ve been a bit different, but I also say with the quality we had on the pitch, if they did score, we could’ve gone up another gear.”

The Pikes Cleaning man of the match was Ramsden and the game was sponsored by Tom Jebb Decorating Services.

Rye: Ramsden; Fraser, Henham, Willis; Hurley (Carpenter), Skinner (Ball), Gould (Foulkes), Richardson; Butchers, Levett, Weller.

Just two days on from their Premier Travel Challenge Cup final triumph and with a depleted squad, Rye were edged out 3-2 away to ninth-placed St Leonards Social in the Macron East Sussex League Premier Division.

Rye twice came from behind to equalise through Pikes Cleaning man of the match Sam Richardson and Kenny Butchers, but Social took the points with an 86th minute winner.

Rye remain fourth in the table - a point behind third-placed Sidley United with a game in hand.

Rye are away to seventh-placed Hawkhurst United tomorrow (Saturday, 3pm) in a match sponsored by Tony Hailey Country Services.

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