Rusthall FC inspired by new signing Smith

    THE Rustics secured a welcome victory in Medway thanks to a hat-trick from new signing Steve Smith after a run of five defeats in a row.

    The victory came against a Lordswood side who have been the shock form team of the Southern Counties East League Premier Division this season after a battle against relegation last term.

    It was also secured without the suspended Paul Butler and the injured Steph Harper.

    Keeper Steve Lawrence had returned from Sheppey United in midweek but could do nothing about the home side’s opening goal on 35 minutes.

    A deep corner from the right found the head of central defender Gary Cook and Liam Newton nipped in to head home from close range.

    But Rusthall showed great character to bounce back immediately on the counter-attack, a fine through ball finding the pacey Smith who calmly rounded Daniel Fox to make it 1-1.

    Just three minutes later it was 2-1 to Rusthall when they robbed the ball in midfield and Smith showed his quality with a neat finish.

    Lordswood levelled on 63 minutes when they were awarded a penalty for handball. Jack Mahon saw his well-struck penalty saved by Lawrence diving to his right but Newton reacted quicker than the defenders to force the ball home.

    But on 74 minutes Smith completed his hat-trick with another calm finish to take the lead again.

    Lordswood pushed hard for an equaliser and picked up three yellow cards in the last 10 minutes.

    This was a crucial win for Rusthall, who had slipped to 17th in the table after a dismal run

    They now entertain Crowborough Athletic on Saturday [November 4] before heading to the Culverden on November 11 to play Tunbridge Wells in the second round of the League Cup.