Rye squad stretched for final league game

Rob Levett on the ball during Rye Town's last match, against Icklesham Casuals.
Rob Levett on the ball during Rye Town's last match, against Icklesham Casuals.

Rye Town Football Club’s squad will be stretched to the limit for its final league game of the season.

The already-crowned Macron East Sussex Football League Division One champions could be without around seven players for the trip to Bexhill Town tomorrow (Saturday). Kick-off at Bexhill Road is 3pm.

“It’s fortunate we’ve got it (the title) wrapped up because we’re short this week,” said Rye manager Shane Ridgers, who himself won’t be able to get there until around half time as he’s attending a course.

“It will be an under-strength side and probably a bit of a younger side, but we’ll be fine and we want to finish the league on a positive.”

Ben Heffernan, Rob Levett and Frank Walker are all working, Adam Hurley has a thigh problem, Charlie Stevens twisted his ankle at work, Kevin Earl is struggling with injury and Ollie Skinner has a university commitment. Dominic Cruttenden has been struggling with a virus, but is expected to play.

Rye clinched the title with a 6-0 win at home to Icklesham Casuals in their last league outing three weeks ago - their 15th victory in 17 league games this season.

Rye have won more matches than any other team in the division, possess by far and away the best goal difference (+51), have scored more goals than anybody else (66 league goals) and conceded fewer (15 goals conceded).

Their one draw this season came in the reverse fixture against a Bexhill side which needs four points from its final three games to pip Crowhurst for the runners-up spot.

On the subject of Crowhurst (the only team to have beaten Rye in the league this season), Rye contested a friendly away to the Crows last weekend and a below strength side was beaten 2-0.

“It served its purpose,” said Ridgers, who usually plays in goal but ended up making a rare outfield appearance. “It was a good run-out for the people who haven’t been getting a regular 90 minutes and we had plenty of chances, but it was their little cup final and they won 2-0.”

Although tomorrow’s game will signal the end of their inaugural league campaign, Rye still have two cup finals to look forward to - and therefore the chance to complete a notable treble.

They will face Division Three side Sedlescombe Rangers II in the Hastings & District FA Junior Cup decider at The Pilot Field, home of Hastings United FC, on Monday April 24.

Rye are still waiting for a date to play the Robertsbridge Charity Intermediate Cup final against Division Two champions Bexhill AAC.

See our comprehensive sports coverage in the Observer every Friday.

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