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Erith & Belvdere 2-0 Rusthall
Erith & Belvdere 2-0 Rusthall

Two goals early in the second half settled the game in Erith and Belvedere’s favour as they defeated Rusthall.

It was the first time that the two clubs had ever met in a league game and the two teams contested a close encounter despite the league standings.

There were few chances in the first half in which the visitors enjoyed more of the possession. Louie Clarke hit an early shot that debutant goalkeeper Ted McDonald beat out and one of the defenders in front of him hooked it away.

Clarke was again in the midst of the action when he found space and attempted to lob McDonald, but it floated wide. Arnando Pires Costa had the last chance of the half when he cut in but shot wide of the near post.

After the interval the hosts came out with more purpose and Danny Lear pulled it back from the bye-line but Charlie Wealands held it well.

Four minutes into the second period, the Deres went ahead. Nathan Palmer beat the offside line and strode forward before slotting it past Wealands and into the bottom corner. 

A further four minutes passed before Erith scored again. Once more, Lear got to the bye-line and this time he managed to squeeze it past Wealands and into the net although the unfortunate Rusthall custodian appeared to get the final touch.

Stefan Cox shot wide of the near post, but it was not all one way traffic and Luke Adams threaded Clarke through, but he shot wide. Clarke had another effort with a shot that swerved but McDonald watched it all the way and made the save.

Rob Curtis was cautioned for a foul and Ryan Styles struck a good free kick that McDonald did well to turn around the post. At the other end Lee Lewis’ long diagonal ball picked out Callum McGeehan but he could not guide his header on target. Lewis then shot over.

As the clock ran down, the game descended into pandemonium. A flare up in the centre of the pitch resulted in a bit of pushing and shoving but nothing too aggressive. However, after the referee consulted his assistants, he called Styles over and showed him a red card before summoning Curtis and brandishing a second yellow and a red.

During the five minutes of stoppage time, Adams lost his cool and scythed down a Deres’ player and, once again, the referee’s red card was held aloft. 

Victory for Erith lifts them to fifth in the table while defeat for Rusthall leaves them looking nervously over their shoulders at the relegation trap door.

Erith and Belvedere: McDonald, Leach, Lewis, Yao (Curtis 45), McGeehan, Barrett, Maher, D. Allassani (Palmer 22), Lear, Cox, Spencer (Brown 72).

Unused subs: Pepple, Rooney.

Goal scorers: Palmer (49), Lear (53)

Yellow cards: Curtis x 2, Brown

Red Cards: Curtis

Rusthall: Wealands, Anderson, Salter (Clover 75), White, Styles, Clarke, Unwin, Lawrence (Newman 55), Adams, Robinson (Biddlecombe 70), Pires Costa.

Subs not used: Hampson, Harper. 

Goal scorers:  None

Yellow cards: Clover

Red cards: Styles, Adams

Referee: Ben McDonald

Assistants: Dan Payton and Sam Hall

Attendance: 110

Pictures supplied by Dean Jacquin.