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Bearsted 1-0 Rusthall
Bearsted 1-0 Rusthall

Sam Stace went from villain to hero as his late strike saw Bearsted deservedly beat 10-man Rusthall 1-0 at Honey Lane in the SCEFL Premier Division on Tuesday evening.  

Stace had seen a penalty saved by visiting goalkeeper Ryan Burbridge before netting the winner on 80 minutes. Shortly after this Rusthall’s Jack Smith saw red for a nasty looking tackle on Stephen Hafner.

Beartsed started the stronger with Jordan Abibio’s header cleared off the line before, against the run of play, Daniel Kommu rounded Bears stopper Tom Barnes only for Ryan Blake’s clearance to deny Rusthall an opener.

On 25 minutes Joel Wakefield saw his well-struck shot blocked, soon after Rustics forward Luke Adams’ effort was saved well by Barnes in what turned out to be an even first period.

Abibio should have put Bearsted ahead just past the half hour when he was found unmarked in the six yard box, but his tame attempt was stopped by the recovering Burbridge.

The second half was all Bearsted with the absolutely superb Harrison Hatful running the game from midfield.

On the hour Hatful was jinking through the visitors defence before being fouled and Stace, who replaced Abibio at the interval, stepped up only to see his powerful spot kick saved by Burbridge.

Stace, to his credit, did not shy away from things and moments later was denied once more as were Hatful and Bears captain Jon Rogers in quick succession.

Rusthall had held the home outfit off well and almost took the lead themselves but for Blake to rescue the hosts again denying Adams with a last-ditch block.

But Bearsted immediately went up the other end and unsurprisingly it was Hatful at the heart of the match-winning moment as his run was finished well by an ecstatic Stace who netted for the fourth time this season.

With just six to play Smith, who had otherwise impressed, flew into a tackle with Bears sub Hafner and was rightly given his marching orders. 

This ended all realistic hopes of a comeback from the visitors with Bearsted collecting their first league win of the campaign and leapfrogging Rusthall in the process.

Tom Barnes; Lekan Majayegbe, Adesina Luqman, Ryan Blake, Callum McCarthy; Flavius Petrisor,  Jon Rogers (C); Giogio Rosso (Booked 56) (Charlie Hatton 82), Harrison Hatful, Joel Wakefield (Stephen Hafner 82); Jordan Abibio (Sam Stace 45).
Goalscorers: Sam Stace (80)

Ryan Burbridge; Jake Hampson, Ryan Styles (C) (Booked 90), James White, Danny Kommu Tommy Lawrence, Jack Smith (Sent Off 84); Louis Anderson (Booked 38), Bradley Large (Charlie Clover 82), Ijah Currie-Wilson Luke Adams.
Goalscorers: None

Man of the match: Harrison Hatful