I think we're in a fairly good place, says Rusthall joint-manager Andrew McKechnie

Monday 13th August 2018

RUSTHALL joint-manager Andrew McKechnie says he wants to keep clear of the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division relegation zone this season.

The Rustics hired Tunbridge Wells’ Culverden Stadium for their 3-0 win over Wick in The FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round tie yesterday and impressed with playing the ball on the deck and using two wingers, one of them, Regan Corke putting in a brilliant performance.

Their reward was to bank £2,250 in prize money from The Football Association and a trip to Bromley to play Bostik South East Division big-hitters Cray Wanderers in the Preliminary Round on Saturday 25 August.

It was only Rusthall’s third outing in The FA Cup.  Last season they were held to a goal-less draw by CB Hounslow United at Culverden Stadium, before going out 2-1 in the replay.

Deal Town head coach Steve King had travelled all the way from Dover to watch the game yesterday ahead of them welcoming Rusthall to The Charles Sports Ground next Saturday.

Deal Town sit in fourth-place in the table, having picked up four points from their opening couple of games and were so close to knocking out Bostik South East Division side Whitstable Town in The FA Cup on Saturday, Stuart West scoring late to give Scott Porter’s side a second bite of the cherry at Belmont Road on Wednesday night.

“That’s going to be a tough encounter,” McKechnie said of Rusthall’s trip to Deal.

“It’s going to be a tough game but we’re prepared to do the nastier side of the game, we’ll try to play football and take the game to them.”

Rusthall are currently in thirteenth-place in the table with three points from their opening two league outings.  They lost 5-2 at Canterbury City on the opening day of the season, before coming away from Crowborough Athletic with a morale boosting 3-1 win.

“I think we’re in a fairly good place,” said McKechnie.

“The first game we were a little bit naïve in some of our play.  The second game we adapted that and got a good result at Crowborough, which was an important three points and it’s given us a platform to come out against Wick and play the football we want.

“We’re looking for an improvement from last year, that’s what we’re looking for. We’re looking to carry on improving and making sure that we’re competitive in every game.”

Rusthall finished second-from-bottom in their debut Premier Division campaign last season but escaped relegation after The FA only relegated one club (Rochester United) last season and promoted three (Punjab United, K Sports and Fisher) from the First Division.

“We’re quite confident that we’ve got a very good squad here. We’ve got fantastic coaches here and we feel we’re in a very good place to carry on improving,” added McKechnie, who runs the side alongside Mike Cramp.

When asked how his amateur club competes with clubs that are throwing the money about in their division, McKechnie said: “What we do is we set up as well as we can. The key point for us are the coaches that we’ve got involved in the training is first class and the attention and that’s a starting point.

“We want people to come to work hard and enjoy their football and that’s what we’re selling to people, to actually turn up and play for a football club because that’s the easy thing and turn up and be a part of something.”

Visit Rusthall’s website:  www.rusthallfc.com

Deal Town  v  Rusthall
Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division
Saturday 18 August 2018
Kick Off 3:00pm
at The Charles Sports Ground, St Leonards Road, Deal, Kent CT14 9AU