Success this season is progression from last season - we stayed up by the skin of our teeth but I'm proud of the boys who did it with me, says Rusthall boss Jimmy Anderson

Sunday 31st July 2022

RUSTHALL manager Jimmy Anderson says his side will get back to the training ground twice this week to prepare for their FA Cup tie against Loxwood.

The Rustics recorded their best ever start to a Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division campaign by thrashing Welling Town 4-1 at Jockey Farm Stadium yesterday.

Goalkeeper Tommy Taylor, left-winger Reuel Powell-Downey, central midfielder Jamie Miller all impressed during the game and their signings may be the shot in the arm that Rusthall need to start consolidating themselves in the middle of the table this season.

Punjab United, Rusthall and newly-promoted side Sutton Athletic all claimed 4-1 victories on the opening day of the new season.

Second-placed Rusthall will be reporting to training on Tuesday and Thursday this week as they prepare for the visit of Loxwood in The FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round next Saturday.

“They gave everything, we had good phases of play, we had a good work-rate, we wanted to win the ball back quickly, and we did that,” said Anderson.

“There’s loads of things we need to work on as well. It’s a 4-1 win but no game is perfect, no result or anything is perfect, no player out there is perfect.  There’s work to be done on Tuesday and Thursday to make it right for the FA Cup.”

Rusthall suffered a season of struggle last time out, finishing in the bottom three, picking up 24 points from their 38 games, winning only seven of their league outings.

They finished level on points with Lordswood, who finished beneath the relegation line but escaped relegation to the tenth-tier of English football.

“Last season was really hard, I learned a lot,” admitted Anderson, the former reserve team manager at Corinthian.

“I’ve brought a very good squad, I feel. I believe in it.  Success would be for each and everyone of them to enjoy it.

“Last season, many in my team would walk off the pitch down in the dumps.  They’re good players. I want them to play football the way I feel is the right way to play football.  We won’t be able to do that against certain teams, that’s fine.  We can adapt.

“Success this season is obviously progression from last season. We stayed up by the skin of our teeth. I’m not hiding that but I still did it. That’s never been done before (here at Rusthall) so I’m proud of that.  I’m proud of the boys who did it with me but now we need to kick on and that would be success.”

The winners next Saturday will face the incentive of welcoming Steve Lovell and his Isthmian League South East Division side Ramsgate in the Preliminary Round on Saturday 20 August.

“It’s The FA Cup – anyone can win on the day, so that’s the thing,” added Anderson.

“Confidence will be higher for us because we’ve just won. We’ve got to bring them down to level on Tuesday and work on stuff, phases of play, set-pieces didn’t quite come off.  It’s fine.

“In my opinion, the first couple of games is still like pre-season, people are building up their fitness and you’re working on systems and trying to establish who’s in good form and who’s not.

“The quality I’ve got is my strength-in-depth and it will do this season. That’s the key thing this season. To bring on five subs and every sub had an input in the game and I had a squad of 16 and I left out eight players. That’s how big my squad is this season. I want a competitive squad and I want people to push people and it’s happening!”

Rusthall  v  Loxwood
The FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round
Saturday 6 August 2022
Kick Off 3:00pm
at Jockey Farm Stadium, Nellington Road, Rusthall, Tunbridge Wells, Kent TN4 8SH