Arundel scrape past Blues in cup clash

ARUNDEL Football Club got back to winning ways on Tuesday evening with victory over local rivals Rustington at Mill Road in the Peter Bentley Cup.
Scott Tipper hit Arundel's winner against Rustington on TuesdayScott Tipper hit Arundel's winner against Rustington on Tuesday
Scott Tipper hit Arundel's winner against Rustington on Tuesday

The Mullets had suffered a humilating seven-goal defeat at home to Hailsham in the Sussex Senior Cup on Saturday but bounced back with a win over division-lower Blues.

Arundel boss Simon Butler felt the result was the most important thing from the night and said: “After Saturday, confidence was a bit low, so it was great to pick up the win.

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“A local derby in the cup is never ideal, but full credit to them, they played well and gave us a real test.

“In the first half, they closed us down and restricted us to very few chances.

“I had a word at the break and we were better in the second half and managed to pick up the win. But they worked us really hard and it was a struggle at times.”

It was Arundel who had the first real chance of note in the game and they went ahead on 30 minutes.

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Sam Mannings crossed from the left and Gary Peters crashed the ball into his own net after being put under pressure by Arundel frontman Luke Richards.

The visitors had a chance to level just six minutes later when Tom Baker’s cross found Josey Stakim but he failed to get his shot away.

Rustington did get back on level terms two minutes before the break, though, when Baker’s cross was put back across the face of goal by Ross Frazier and Stakim slammed the ball into the roof of the net.

Arundel nearly went back ahead in first half injury-time, but both Scott Tipper and then Richards had shots saved by Rustington keeper Carl Bennett.

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The visitors started the second half well and could have gone in front when Frazier played in Stakim but his shot was saved by James Fernandes.

Tipper put Arundel ahead for the second time on the night when he headed home a Nathan Da Costa cross on 63 minutes for his sixth goal of the season.

Rustington pushed forward in search of a leveller and nearly got one with a minute left but Callum Edwards’ left-footed effort sailed just over the bar as Arundel progressed into the third round.

Despite the defeat, Blues assisstant manager Mark Rowland was pleased with his side’s performance and said: “I think we did ourselves proud out there and I’m delighted with the lads.

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“We had a couple of players missing and had to put an outfield player in goal at the last minute, so to put in a performance like that was great.

“If we had our full-strength side available, I’d have felt we could have won it but, unfortunaltely, it wasn’t to be.”

Mullets will have another local derby in the next round, when they will travel to holders East Preston.

ARUNDEL: Fernandes; N.Da Costa, Hall, Walker, Mannings; Bibb, Wilson, Grove, Biggs; Richards, Tipper. Subs: Heward (Hall), Hunter (Grove), Russell, Marsden, L.Da Costa.

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RUSTINGTON: C.Bennett; Precious, Maclver, Leach, Miles; Rowland, Peters, J.Bennett, Baker, Frazier, Stakim. Subs: Edwards (Precious), Gettings (Peters) Adfield.

n Arundel return to league action on Saturday when they host Loxwood in County League Division 1. They then travel to East Preston in the league on Tuesday.

Rustington entertain Bexhill in Division 2 on Saturday.