We've got seven more games, we want to be in the top four, says Rusthall boss Jimmy Anderson

Sunday 15th March 2020

RUSTHALL manager Jimmy Anderson says his side have seven cup finals to play, hopefully.

The Southern Counties East Football League told its member clubs on Friday to carry on, in the midst of the Coronavirus crisis, which has wiped out The Premier League, English Football League and locally, the Isthmian League.

Rusthall attracted their largest crowd of the season yesterday when 296 flocked through the turnstiles at Jockey Farm in a bid of defiance that life does actually go on.

The Rustics were on course of keeping their title bid alive but the impressive Jefferson Aibangbee scored an 88th-minute equaliser for Forest Hill Park in a 2-2 draw.

As a result, Kennington leapfrogged over Rusthall into top spot in the First Division following their 5-0 win at basement club Kent Football United.

Dan Scorer’s men have picked up 55 points from their 26 of 32 league games, while Rusthall are a point behind in second-place.  Holmesdale are three points behind with a game in hand, while Sporting Club Thamesmead have joined the promotion party with 45 points on the board but having played 26 games.

Rochester United, FC Elmsted and Stansfield are all waiting in the wings on 45 points.

Anderson makes his first trip down to Lydd Town next Saturday (15:00) in the search for three points.

“I’ve never been there! I come from Orpington so it’s probably a hell of a drive for me,” said Anderson.

“It’s a game now that’s has more importance than it did before we kicked a ball.

“We need to go down there and pick up a result. It will be another game in the league where any team can beat anyone on their day.

“Look, they’re a good side. When we played them here they were under a different management. We beat them on the day so we’ve got to go down there with the right attitude.

“Yes, it’s a long way, yes, it’s wet and windy but it’s wet and windy here at Rusthall.  It’s probably a long way for a lot of teams to come here, so we’ve got to treat it with the utmost respect and go down there and do a job.”

Four clubs are being promoted into the Premier Division this season and Anderson is satisfied with his side’s second-place position.

He said: “Stupidly, I’m happy with that. The aim at the start of the season, from my point of view, was to get promoted, to get us back up to Step Five.

“The longer the season goes on people talk about winning the league, this and that. We have a game in hand on Kennington, I think that might be against FC Elmstead, which will be a tough fixture.

“They’re all tough. We’ve got seven more games. We want to be in the top four. Everybody talks about winning league’s and stuff like that.

“Last week was a fantastic result beating Kennington 2-1 but like I said to the boys before yesterday’s game, that’s been and gone.  That three points last week, we needed another three points. We’ve got a point, fair play to Forest Hill, they’ve played for 90 minutes and I didn’t feel like that was my team.”

Anderson has likened his side’s seven games to cup finals.

“That’s the thing, hopefully seven left,” added the Rusthall boss with warnings of a League suspension.

“Of course, it’s going to be hard. I’ve got a young team, they’re a little bit down in there. They felt they’ve let themselves down.  They have.  They need games like this to learn week-in-week-out to move forward and we’ll learn from this.

“Lydd next week will be hard, if it’s on, then we’ve got Elmstead. We’ve still got to play Elmstead twice.

“Everything’s up for grabs.  My club media guy (Jamie Poole) is calling it seven cup finals but every game is hard.  The main thing that we’re trying to say is go out there and enjoy it.

“When we do enjoy it, we tend to get a result.  We didn’t enjoy it yesterday but we got a result but not the result that we wanted.”

Forest Hill Park manager Darrell Queeley welcomes Kennington to Ladywell Arena next Saturday (15:00) and wants his side to replicate their performance at Jockey Farm Stadium.

The Ladywell Arena based outfit are in 12th place in the table with 32 points on the board from their 26 league outings, two places and 10 points clear of Lydd Town.

“Honestly, Kennington are a good side. Anyone who has seen us over the course of the season knows that the difference between us winning games and losing games is a small margin,” said Queeley.

“It doesn’t matter if we play Kennington or we’re playing Kent Football United, it doesn’t matter who we’re playing, we get into those same positions and we make bad decisions, the difference is Kennington will not miss those opportunities and they will punish us.

“I’m hoping my boys have learnt from yesterday that they can compete if they make the right decisions throughout a game, which isn’t often the case with us.

“We go into the game not frightened but very respectful of Kennington and we’re going to try to go out there and try to make the right decisions more often because we can compete and we have done throughout the season.”