Richard ‘Alfie’ Weller plundered a four-goal salvo as Rye Town Football Club was victorious in its first cup fixture of the season.
The in-form forward took his tally for the campaign to nine in four games as Rye won 5-3 away to The JC Tackleway in round one of the Macron East Sussex Football League’s Premier Travel Challenge Cup on Saturday.
Faced with a mini defensive crisis, Rye fielded a new-look back three of Luke Willis, Sam Henham and Joe Fraser on a bright and breezy afternoon at Barley Lane.
Rye, who have won their opening three matches in the Premier Division, started well against Division One side Tackleway on a small pitch which didn’t really suit their game.
Having fashioned some decent chances and tested the home goalkeeper early on, Rye opened the scoring in the fifth minute. Weller tapped home his first of the afternoon from two yards following some great work on the wing by Charlie Stevens.
Tackleway were back on level terms, however, five minutes later. After what looked like being a good throughball by Ollie Skinner was intercepted, Tackleway went long and their forward tucked the ball past Rye manager Shane Ridgers, standing in for Joe Ramsden between the posts.
Rye, playing into the bright sun, went back in front after 25 minutes. Stevens, who caused all sorts of problems with his pace, went through and was pulled down in the box, but picked himself up to convert the resulting penalty.
Weller made it 3-1 just six minutes later with a fantastic left-footed finish into the bottom right-hand corner, but Tackleway got one back five minutes before half time. The hosts’ pacy left winger skinned Willis, cut inside and slotted into the far corner.
Despite assistant manager Chris Gould urging Rye not to go through the motions at half time, a hard working Tackleway side got on top for an extended period and seemed to be winning every second ball in the middle of the pitch.
Tackleway got their rewards with a 58th minute equaliser. A corner came out to the edge of the area, from where it was half-volleyed past Ridgers.
That goal seemed to wake Rye up and a few challenges started going in. Sammy Foulkes really came into his own and began to perform very well in midfield.
Weller put Rye 4-3 up in the 79th minute with a right-footed finish to complete his hat-trick. Fraser made two brilliant interceptions at the back and Weller added his fourth towards the end after Foulkes broke through and unselfishly teed him up.
Weller was the Pikes Cleaning man of the match and the match was sponsored by Lodestar Cleaning.
Rye: Ridgers; Willis, Henham, Fraser; Richardson (Clement), Foulkes, Hurley (Gould), Skinner, Pierce; Weller, Stevens. Subs not used: Tiltman, Osborne.
More cup action is on the agenda for Rye this coming Saturday as they host fellow Premier Division side Ore Athletic in round one of the Hastings & District FA Intermediate Cup.
Martin Brain, Rob Levett, Richard Hibbs and Ramsden are set to return, Sam Richardson is 50-50 with a knock to his knee and Barnaby Osborne is unavailable.
Kick-off in a match sponsored by Peter Ridgers from Pete the Pane Window Cleaning is 2.30pm.