Rusthall 2 Hollands & Blair 3
BOTTOM of the table Hollands & Blair stunned Rusthall with two goals in injury time to leave the home side worried about their own relegation problems in Southern Counties East League Premier Division.
Hollands & Blair arrived at the Jockey Farm Stadium boosted by a number of new signings and on a three-match unbeaten run that included a 3-0 win over Tunbridge Wells and a 1-1 draw with promotion chasing Crowborough Athletic.
The visitors took the lead in the 20th minute when the home defence failed to clear a corner and former Tunbridge Wells defender Scott Whibley forced the ball over the line from close range.
The unsetttled Rustics were guilty of giving the ball away in midfield and inviting Hollands & Blair to put them under pressure.
But on the stroke of half-time Rusthall drew level with another classy finish from Steph Harper, registering his 13th goal of the season.
He picked the ball up wide on the left and skipped past his marker before curling a sublime effort into the top right-hand corner from 20 yards.
This gave the Rustics a huge lift. They started the second half strongly and took the lead on 57 minutes.
This time Harper turned provider when he provided a pinpoint cross from the right and found the head of his strike partner Steve Smith, who met it superbly.
It looked as if the home side would take control of the game but they failed to find their normally reliable passing game.
Rusthall gave a debut to teenage winger James Jordan, whom they signed from Tonbridge Angels in midweek and he looked quite lively after coming on at the hour-mark.
The Rustics looked to be happy to try and hold on to what they had instead of looking to kill the game off with a third goal.
In time added on they were left shellshocked as a rampant Hollands & Blair equalised on 91 minutes through Rob Denness.
The they grabbed the winner on 93 minutes when the hosts missed chances to clear the ball away and allowed Ed Morant to hammer home from close range.
This win lifted Hollands & Blair off the bottom of the table for the first time this season as they go above Rochester United on goal difference,
They are now just nine points behind the Rustics with 12 games to play. Rusthall must recover from this huge setback as they look to avoid an immediate return to Division One.
Rusthall’s next game is away at Glebe, who were promoted with them last season, on Saturday (March 3, kick-off 3pm).