Rye reach second cup final

Charlie Stevens scored Rye Town's winner against Hawkhurst United.
Charlie Stevens scored Rye Town's winner against Hawkhurst United.

Rye Town Football Club booked its place in a cup final for the second successive weekend.

Having reached the Hastings & District FA Junior Cup decider a fortnight ago, Rye won through to the Robertsbridge Charity Intermediate Cup final by defeating higher level opposition on Saturday.

Macron East Sussex Football League Division One leaders Rye triumphed 1-0 away to mid-table Premier Division outfit Hawkhurst with Charlie Stevens grabbing the only goal.

Their reward is a showdown against Division Two top dogs Bexhill AAC, who won 4-1 away to top flight side Sedlescombe Rangers in the other last four tie. A date for the final has yet to be announced.

Rye, whose influential midfielder Sammy Foulkes pulled out through illness during the morning, took a while to adjust to facing Premier Division opposition.

Hawkhurst were on top for the first 10 minutes, during which time Rye goalkeeper Richard ‘Alfie’ Weller - standing-in for the injured Shane Ridgers - made his only genuine save of the afternoon, a good stop to his right from a long range shot.

Rye gradually gained the upper hand and started to cause a few problems, particularly from set-pieces. Ben Heffernan was getting plenty of joy on the left and he won a free kick, from which Stevens’ strike was superbly tipped onto the crossbar by the home goalkeeper.

A few tackles started going in and some of Rye’s players, for the first time this season really, began to get a bit niggly with each other, prompting a few stern words from manager Ridgers at half time.

Rye came out a totally different team in the second period and got their reward when Pikes Cleaning man of the match Stevens grabbed the winner with a slightly mishit effort at the far post.

Buoyed by the terrific support of the travelling faithful, Rye controlled the second half and a third consecutive clean sheet helped see them through.

“It was good,” said Ridgers. “It was quite clear that there’s a gulf between the prem and the teams we’ve been playing.

“Fitness-wise there was a big difference between the two leagues. All the boys came off knowing they’d been in a game, but we know now that we can mix it with the teams above. We did well.”

The match sponsor was Mick Hovenden Upholstery.

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

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