Beckenham Town 3 Rusthall 1
RUSTHALL were always going to be up against it after going 2-0 down inside six minutes away at in-form Beckenham and they could not recover despite a brave second-half effort.
The hosts had won their last five games, while the hosts were without several key players and then striker Steve Smith failed to turn up, leaving them with just two players on the bench – one of whom was the goalkeeper Callum Christie.
Within a minute of the kick-off they found themselves a goal down when much travelled striker Richard Atkins finished in style.
The much-changed line-up were still trying to settle when James Fray made it 2-0.
Beckenham always looked dangerous on the break with the pacey Huender Santos a constant threat wide on the right.
But on 33 minutes Beckenham were awarded a penalty following a tackle by Michael Tubb and Atkins slotted home the spot-kick.
Straight from the restart Rusthall should have pulled a goal back when striker Dan Mitchell had just the keeper to beat but pulled his shot wide.
Ryan Waterman was a threat on the right and one of his driven crosses was met at the far post by Mitchell but his header was blocked on the line by a defender.
Rusthall did pull a goal back on 76 minutes when Mitchell finished well from the edge of the area following a very good passing move but the visitors were unable to score again.
Beckenham went up into second place in the Southern Counties East League Premier Division, behind leaders Sevenoaks Town – who drew 0-0 at Tunbridge Wells – on goal difference while Crowborough Athletic lost 2-1 at Melksham.
Bottom of the table Hollands & Blair visit Jockey Farm on Saturday (January 13, kick-off 3pm) for what will be a crucial game for Rustics in their bid to avoid a relegation fight.
DAN’S THE MAN Mitchell (right) in action and (above) his goal flies into the net PHOTOS: Dean Jacquin