Rusthall 3-0 Wick - It's nice to make that history for Rusthall in The FA Cup, says joint-manager Andrew McKechnie

Sunday 12th August 2018
Rusthall 3 – 0 Wick
Location Culverden Stadium, Culverden Down, Tunbridge Wells, Kent TN4 9SG
Kickoff 12/08/2018 15:00

The Emirates FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round
Sunday 12 August 2018
Stephen McCartney reports from Culverden Stadium

RUSTHALL joint-manager Andrew McKechnie says his players have gone down in history by winning the clubs first ever FA Cup tie.

Rusthall banked £2,250 in prize money from The Football Association after comfortably beating Sussex side Wick, who went home with £750.

The Rustics went into the game in thirteenth-place in the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division table after losing 5-2 at Canterbury City before beating their local rivals Crowborough Athletic 3-1.

Wick arrived at Culverden Stadium in sixth-place in the Southern Combination First Division table having opened with a 2-1 win over Storrington.

Rusthall were miles the better side but were wasteful in front of goal over the course of the 90 minutes and right-back Tom Cameron’s low finish gave them the lead but they were more clinical in the second half as midfielder Alex Carey and home-grown striker Callum Strachan came off the bench to wrap up a very impressive performance.

“Just a proud occasion, it’s nice to make that history and be a part of that for a club that’s been together for a long time and we’re just glad as a squad and as a team that we could deliver that to everyone at the club,” said McKechnie, who runs the team alongside Mike Cramp.

“Today is a prime example, the players have created history for the club and in 100 years’ time, those boys were apart of Rusthall’s first FA Cup win.

“To be fair to them, Wick kept going, they kept trying to play as a team and they worked hard but I just felt our extra quality was the deciding factor.”

Rusthall played the beautiful game with a very pleasing passing game and two wingers in the shape of Jordan Anderson and Regan Corke who terrorised Wick’s full-backs.  This was an example on how football should be played and 185 were impressed by Rusthall’s football.

“We do want to play football. We’ve got players that have come here because they want to play football,” said McKechnie.

“We had a little bit of a lesson against Canterbury where we probably tried to play too much football so we realise we probably have to do the nasty side of the game but if we can play football and try to entertain football, then that’s what we’re going to do.”

Wick’s only chance of the entire game arrived in the tenth minute but midfielder Kieron Howard hit his shot straight at keeper Callum Christie.

Left-back Curtis Horn reached the final third and whipped in a cross, which was brought under control by David Crouch at the near post and he held the ball up before setting up Howard who powerfully drilled his right-footed shot straight at the keeper from six-yards.

“Callum’s a fantastic keeper. We’re very happy and lucky to have him still a part of the side and he hasn’t had to do anything else for the rest of the game apart from that save but when he was called upon at that time, he’s pulled off an absolutely brilliant save,” said McKechnie.

Rusthall opened the scoring with 12 minutes and 34 seconds on the clock, although Wick’s goalkeeper Luke Hutchings went to ground too quickly.

Carey played a sublime through ball in between Archie Thorpe and Niall O’Hagan to put Cameron through on goal and he saw the gap and swept his right-footed shot into the bottom near corner from 15-yards.

“I think we didn’t play enough football up until that point but as we proved with our goal, it was short, sharp, one-two touch passes and because we worked on that effectively, it was a lovely little finish from Tom Cameron, very comfortable right-back for a finish,” said McKechnie.

Rusthall’s left-back Dan Kommu played the ball down the line to left-winger Anderson, who cut inside before drilling his right-footed shot sailing harmlessly past the far post from 30-yards.

Rusthall should have doubled their lead in the 28th minute when Wick’s left-wing-back Horn played the ball to Nathan Ediker’s feet but Callum Ridley nipped in to intercept the pass before driving through the heart of the pitch and once inside the box he lashed his right-footed shot over the crossbar from 12-yards.

“I think it’s better to get it out of the way now with Callum Ridley with his chances,” said McKechnie.

“Callum’s a fantastic player, he’s a brilliant player. His technique is fantastic. A lot of his shots today, his technique was bang on. He didn’t quite find his shooting boots today.

“Callum’s a top player, there were quite a few club’s trying to get him and he’s another player we’re happy to be here.   He’s someone with an old school attitude in the fact he just wanted to play football and he wanted to enjoy his football and that’s why he fits in perfectly into this side.”

Rusthall produced a slick move in from the left when Anderson played the ball inside to Joe Fuller who teed up Ridley, who struck a first time drive screaming just over the crossbar from 35-yards.

Wick defended poorly and lost the midfield battle as Ridley was pulling the strings in a dominant performance in the Rusthall engine room.

Kommu played the ball down the line to Anderson, who cut inside and his driven shot ricochet into the path of Corke, who was left in acres of space inside the box but he dragged his shot across the keeper and past the far post from 12-yards.

“We had so many chances, I’m trying to recall that one,” admitted McKechnie.

“I think it’s probably fair to say we were just a threat going forward for the whole game. We created a lot of chances through good movement and good play, maybe just need to be a little bit more clinical.”

Wick centre-half Charlie Northeast missed his hook on the halfway line and Fuller nipped in and played a sublime 40-yard diagonal cross-field-pass to release Corke, who sped past Horn to cut into the box to flash his shot across the keeper towards the bottom far corner.  However, the ball bounced and the ball flashed agonisingly past the foot of the far post instead.

“That’s just unfortunate.  The pass was good, the touch was good.  As Regan’s set up to hit it, it’s taken a bobble,” said McKechnie.

McKechnie will do well to keep right-winger Corke at the club, especially if he turns in consistent high-quality performances like he did today.

“Regan was fantastic today. He was a real thorn in their side. For a young lad, the way he played, it was a very mature performance from him. He caused them problems all afternoon,” said McKechnie.

“Do you know what, we just want the best for the players involved. If we give them everything, then we hope they can come back in and give Rusthall everything. What we try to do is build as a club and have people who want to be a part of something and want to be proud to play for Rusthall.

“If Regan carries on playing like that and people from a higher level or whatever want him, then that’s brilliant because he’s a good lad and he works hard and you would’ve seen even a difference in his performance from the first half to the second half because he listened. We gave him a couple of points and he listens and he picks up things very quickly.”

Cameron’s short throw was hooked in from the right touchline by Carey and Anderson brought the ball down, turned, but lashed his shot high over the Wick crossbar from a central position a yard inside the box.

John Phillips’ swung in a corner from the right which was cleared out to Ridley, who pounced on the loose ball before drilling his shot just past the top left-hand corner from 22-yards.

Cameron latched on a loose ball some 35-yards out and cracked a stunning drive, which screamed over the goalkeeper’s right-shoulder and crashed off the crossbar.  It had a feeling of being one of those games for Rusthall.

“I’m not sure he should be hitting that but to be fair as soon as he lined up for it, his body shape, again a player with his technique is fantastic. He was just unlucky, it’s a fantastic shot,” said McKechnie.

“We’ve got to be honest, although this is very much a new side and a lot of players haven’t played together before, that’s what we’re trying to work on and gel and build partnerships.

“We weren’t happy (at half-time). We felt that we weren’t good enough as a side. Wee felt we were a little bit lacklustre in the first half. We didn’t move the ball quick enough and we felt we were just too comfortable. 

“The message at half-time was quicken the play up, get the ball moving quickly. When they had the ball, put them under pressure higher up the field.”

Wick’s joint-managers of Lee Baldwin and Ady Baker gave their side the hairdryer treatment during the interval and Wick upped their game slightly at the start of the second half.

Dan Cox swung in a deep corner from the right, the ball was knocked down by Northeast at the far post and quiet striker Jack Cole’s left-footed shot on the turn from 18-yards out sailed high over the crossbar.

Rusthall deservedly doubled their lead with five minutes and 26 seconds on the clock.

Phillips played a long ball up to Corke, who terrorised Horn, to reach the final third before overhitting a cross from the right which was retrieved by Anderson on the left.  Anderson cut into the box, done a couple of step-overs before cutting the ball back to Carey, who cut inside his man and curled a beautiful right-footed shot around the keeper to find the top far corner from 25-yards.

Laughing, McKechnie said: “The funny point was, we said we created so many chances in the first half but we probably didn’t hit that many on target.  All we were saying at half-time was when we get into positions just hit the target! We didn’t have to try to hit the top corner, just make the keeper work and obviously Alex went and done the complete opposite and stuck it in the top corner from 25-yards out!

“It was a brilliant strike, it was a great strike but he’s got that in his locker Alex, he’s got the ability and the quality, it’s there for him.”

Ridley whipped in a corner from the left and Jagger jumped up to glance his header just past the far post from inside the six-yard box.

A curling cross from Kommu should have been buried by Ridley at the far post, but the ball skimmed off his thigh and trickled past the foot of the far post.

Kommu clipped a ball back into the Wick penalty area and an unmarked Ridley nodded his header past the same post from eight-yards.

The left-hand post saved Wick in the 59th minute as Rusthall continued to press with sublime attacking football.

More impressive wing-play from Corke down the right saw him set-up a chance for Ridley, who cracked a right-footed angled drive from 25-yards and the ball struck the far post in the 59th minute.

“That was a good strike. I was lined up behind it, the space was there, he’s hit it nicely and clean but that was just unlucky and come back off the post,” added McKechnie.

“Mike (Cramp) and I both had our hands over our faces a few times when we got to probably the 20th clear cut chance.  We’ll start scoring more goals and being more clinical!”

The busy Ridley and hardworking Fuller linked up and a mistake from Horn gave Ridley yet another chance but he rolled his left-footed shot just past the foot of the right-hand post from inside the D.

Corke hung over a great cross from the right which was met by Carey’s far-post cushioned header from eight-yards, which was blocked by Hutchings, low to his left with 20 minutes remaining.

“Although we created a lot of chances and we didn’t get a lot on target in the first half, the second half we did get a lot more on target and their keeper did make some good saves in that second half,” added McKechnie.

Rusthall created another chance following their eighth and final corner inside the final four minutes.

Ridley swung in the ball from the left and Jagger came up from the back to steer his header straight into Hutchings’ hands at the far post.

Jagger posed a dominant, towering figure at the heart of the Rusthall defence to ensure keeper Christie kept one of his easier clean-sheets of the season.

“The whole of the back four have never played together before so it’s just about working on position play, decision making and today they got everything bang on right,” added McKechnie.

Rusthall finally bagged their third goal, timed at 43 minutes and 23 seconds on the clock, to finally bury Wick.

Phillips pinged a long diagonal pass out to Corke, who played in a low cross from the right and the ball was swept across the keeper and in to the bottom far corner by Strachan, who scored eight-yards from goal at the near post.

Rusthall deserved to win by three clear goals, such was their dominant and brilliant performance.

“That whole goal made me incredibly happy,” said McKechnie. “Two young lads, Regan was brilliant. He laid it on a plate for Callum Strachan.  Callum’s a local lad, come through the youth, come through the reserve sides, so that goal was very pleasing. It was nothing more than what we deserved today.”

Looking ahead to their trip to Hayes Lane to play Cray Wanderers in the next round, McKechnie said: “I don’t think it’s going to be a problem for us to have the underdog tag. We’re going to go there to try to win the game. We’re not just going to turn up just to make the numbers up.

“The FA prize money means a lot. It’s right that The FA have raised it this year. The money for even losing is at a decent amount and I think that’s only right. The FA Cup starts in August, not January. It’s a huge difference. We had six players on the bench today and everyone involved were buzzing to be involved. Put the money on top of that as well and it makes a big difference.”

Rusthall travel to fourth-placed Deal Town next Saturday and their head coach Steve King travelled up from Dover to watch this FA Cup tie. Rusthall then travel to Corinthian on Tuesday 21 August, before their date with Tony Russell’s side. Pull off a shock and Rusthall will scoop another £2,890, lose and they will bank £960 to go with the £2,250 banked for their good days work today.

Rusthall: Callum Christie, Tom Cameron, Dan Kommu, John Phillips, William Jagger, Luke Stratford, Jordan Anderson (Matt Crompton 75), Callum Ridley, Joe Fuller (Callum Strachan 84), Alex Carey (Ryan Waterman 75), Regan Corke.
Subs: George Ede, Jake Cornish, Ryan Hinkson, Kane Ramsell

Goals:  Tom Cameron 13, Alex Carey 51, Callum Strachan 89

Booked:  Joe Fuller 77

Wick:  Luke Hutchings, Archie Thorpe, Curtis Horn, Dean Janman, Charlie Northeast, Niall O’Hagan, Dan Cox (Jake Chaplin 69), Nathan Ediker (Sam Conolly 53), Jack Cole, David Crouch, Kieron Howard (Guy Church 69).
Subs:  Tyler Hope, Danny Hand, Grant Thetford, Alex Kew

Booked: Charlie Northeast 90

Attendance: 185
Referee: Mr Joseph Gray (Dagenham, Essex)
Assistants: Mr Harry Dunnett (Rochford, Essex) &  Mr Guy Pell-Iderton (Rayleigh, Essex)