Rustington 1 Wick 3

Saturday 1st September 2012
Rustington 1 Wick 3
Sussex County League Division Two
At: Recreation Ground, Jubilee Avenue
Kick-off: 3-00 pm
Admission: £3; Programme: £1 (36 pages)
Weather: warm and sunny
Attendance: 57
Duration: first-half: 47:11; second-half: 50:52

With the Paralympics to look forward to tomorrow (morning swimming and evening athletics), we decided to turn the trip to the Olympic Park into a four-night holiday. The family choice of a trip to Brighton today suited me as it provided an unmissable opportunity to continue along the coast to one of the two grounds in the current Sussex County League Division Two line-up I hadn’t previously visited (Loxwood being the other – see below at the end). The added spice of this fixture between Rustington and Wick was its ‘local derby’ tag as the respective grounds are less than two miles apart as the crow flies.

Rustington, founded over 100 years ago in 1903 and based a few miles to the west of Littlehampton, joined the Sussex County League in 2004 as West Sussex League champions. In 2006/07, they won Division Three and gained promotion to Division Two. The present 2012/13 campaign is their sixth in this division. The team attached national attention, including Sky TV, when they went unbeaten in the league throughout the whole of 2006.

The nearest station to the ground is Angmering, about 15 minutes walk, which Chris1963 on the Non-League Matters Forum agreed with and he must walk at a similar pace to me! There are two entrances: one from the Woodlands Centre car park off Woodlands Avenue which emerges behind the goal and another at the end of Jubilee Avenue next to the white pavilion. My route to the ground took me north from the station, left along the noisy A259, via the footpath next to retail park, left back over the railway, right after passing the Windmill pub, right at the roundabout into Worthing Road (A2187) and Jubilee Avenue was second left. The walk back was far calmer from the entrance behind the goal via Station Road.

The pitch, running widthways in relation to the white pavilion, was fully railed off with hardstanding laid down where there is no overlap with the adjacent cricket pitch. At present, the ground has neither a stand or floodlights, though I'm sure efforts are being made to improve the ground. The tea bar was found inside the clubhouse and teams displayed on a whiteboard hung on the side of the building - a nice touch. All in all, I found Rustington FC very welcoming and a few people were interested in where I'd travelled from.

Due to cricket, Rustington were playing their first home game of the season so the programme updated fans on the new manager and team, and reports from several away games. I knew that the club has issued decent programmes in the past and the 2012/13 version keeps up the standard. On the road, Rustington (14th position with 4 points from 5 games) had won one, drawn one and lost three games.

This afternoon, Rustington (in all blue) got the action underway defending the cricket end in the first half.

Wick (18th and bottom with four defeats out of four) got off to a perfect start with a goal in the 11th minute. Michael Frangou swung a vicious corner from the right to the near post where the ball flew in off the head of a Rustington defender (photo right). Simon Clayton (obscured by '2' and '3' at the near post) was the unfortunate player to be subsequently credited with an own goal – the first part of Clayton’s eventful afternoon!

Frangou headed wide from Danny Cooper’s cross during a continuing good start for the visitors. Someone agreed: “keep this up, Wick”. Someone else said Rustington had “got to be better … let’s work together”. While Wick were comfortably hold their advantages, Rustington started to create chances and twice Jordan Matthews produced save to deny Dan Jarvis an equaliser.

Frangou impressed and doubled Wick’s lead shortly before the interval, bundling the ball over the line from Nathan Parke’s right-wing cross.

Most headed for the clubhouse a quite a few like me honed in on the tea bar hatch during the interval.

A significant moment occurred within four minutes of the restart when Rustington goalkeeper Andy McCarthy was sent off for handling outside his area. Defender Tim Leach took over in goal to leave the home side’s ten men a mountain to climb. The resulting free-kick, hit by Ross Adams was blocked by the wall.

I mentioned that Clayton had an eventful afternoon and, following an own goal and booking during the first half, he reduced his side’s deficit in the 70th minute. Chris Darwin delivered a free-kick into the area where Clayton bravely headed home.

However, hope for Rustington of salvaging a point soon evaporated as Wick scored a third goal barely a minute later. Frangou headed home his second goal of the game from Michael Hamm’s cross after Leach blocked initial shot by Parke.

It could have been four had Leach not deflected a close-range shot from Hamm over the bar.

Clayton’s eventful afternoon ended with a nasty cut to his head which subsequently required hospital treatment.

Rustington (blue/blue/blue): 1. Andy McCarthy (capt), 2. Ryan Morton, 3. Andy Boxall, 4. John Beaney, 5. Tim Leach, 6. Chris Matthews, 7. Simon Clayton, 8. Nathan Stock, 9. Steve Kirkham, 10. Dan Jarvis, 11. Chris Darwin. Subs: 12. Craig Cox (for Clayton, 81), 14. Scott Edwards (for Morton, 58), 15. Gavin Heater (not used).

Wick (red/black/red): 1. Jordan Matthews, 2. Michael Hamm, 3. Ruben French, 4. Ted Griffin (capt), 5. George Hotson, 6. Curtis Horn, 7. Nathan Parke, 8. Danny Cooper, 9. Ross Adams, 10. Michael Frangou, 11. Anders Wyatt. Subs: 12. Dan Cox (not used), 14. Andy Cox (for Wyatt, 43), 15. Joe Matthews (for Cooper, 64), 16. K. Urquhart (not used), 17. 17. Lee Farrell (for Frangou, 72).

Referee: Duncan Brooker
Assistants: Chris Hamilton and Malcolm Merrell.

0-1 Simon Clayton (11 og)
0-2 Michael Frangou (42)
1-2 Simon Clayton (70)
1-3 Michael Frangou (71)

Rustington: Simon Clayton (YC, 45), Andy McCarthy (RC, 49; Tim Leach went in goal); Scott Edwards (YC, 60)
Wick: none

Sussex County League Division Two
Bexhill United – 15/8/90 v Eastbourne Town (Sussex County League Division 1)
Broadbridge Heath – 16/8/94 v Redhill (Sussex County League Division 2)
Eastbourne United – 10/2/96 v Lancing (Sussex County League Division 2)
Little Common – 26/12/94 v Buxted (Sussex County League Division 3)
Littlehampton Town – 3/4/92 v Wick (Sussex County League Division 1)
Loxwood – TO DO
Midhust & Easebourne – 23/1/93 v Oakwood (Sussex County League Division 1)
Mile Oak – 10/10/92 v Eastbourne Town (Sussex County League Cup Second Round)
Newhaven – 17/8/93 v Hailsham Town (Sussex County League Division 1)
Oakwood – 18/4/90 v Little Common Albion (Sussex County League Division 2)
Rustington – 1/9/12 v Wick (Sussex County League Division 2)
Saltdean United – 18/12/93 v Shoreham (Sussex County League Division 2)
Seaford Town – 24/12/94 v Little Common Albion (Sussex County League Division 3)
Southwick – 21/12/93 v Mile Oak (Sussex County League Division 2)
Steyning Town – 24/3/93 v Ash United (Parasol Combined Counties League)
Storrington – 8/8/90 v Arundel (Pre-season Friendly)
Westfield – 25/10/97 v Buxted (Sussex County League Division 3)
Wick – 6/3/92 v Arundel (Sussex County League Division 1)