Saltdean United bounced back from their opening day mauling against Loxwood on Saturday to hit Rustington for six on Tuesday night.
Saltdean went down 5-0 at home to Loxwood, the visitors’ goals coming from Tom Lyons (25 mins), Tim Martin (63), Shaun Findlay (75) and Dean Wright (50, 84).
But on Tuesday night, the Tigers started to show their pre-season form by beating Rustington 6-2 in the first round of the John O’Hara League Cup. Their goals came courtesy of a hat-trick from stand-in skipper Ryan Walton, two from Tom Roberts and the goal of the game from Luke Duchossoy.
Saltdean boss Wayne Smith admitted after Saturday’s division 2 defeat: “We were woeful.
“They had a good side but we were woeful.
“They looked a ragtag lot. They didn’t have tracksuits and they didn’t seem to have a squad. But when they came out to play, they were a definite squad all right.
“I don’t think many teams will push them this year.
“We just didn’t start and went out very flat. And it killed it dead for us.
“And by the time we realised we were in a game we were 2-0 down.”
However, it was still only 1-0 at the interval and Smith said: “We were well in it at half time but just didn’t come out second half, and we got destroyed.”
But Smith added: “It’s early in the season, the first game, and maybe pre-season nerves got the better of us.
“Maybe it’s just a case of expectation being too heavy, then realising what the league is all about.”
“But in the year we ended up getting promoted, we lost the first two games of the season. So we’ll pick ourselves up and get on with it.”
And indeed they did, with that 6-2 hammering of the Blues, which saw them part company with manager Stuart Maltman after the game.
Smith told the Sussex Express on the morning of the game that Lee Slade and Dean Ghamsari, both signed to the club for the reserves during the summer, would be given a try-out in the side.
The club website confirmed that six changes were made to the team that lost on Saturday, with “outstanding performances all over the park, in particular Paul O’Donnell and Scott Cameron-Waller” who “paired up well to prove a good partnership in what was a completely new back line”.
After a league game away to newly-merged Wick & Barnham United today (Saturday) the Tigers face division 2’s other big title favourites (aside from Loxwood) – Eastbourne United, on Tuesday night, also away.
Smith said: “It gets them out of the way, doesn’t it? You’ve got to play them sometime and I’d rather play them at the start of the season.”