Rusthall made it through to the 1st round proper of this seasons FA Vase with a narrow win against Combined Counties League side Godalming and had debutant keeper Callum Hampson to thank after he made two superb saves in the first half as the visitors enjoyed most of the play.
The Rustics’ changes from last weeks first league defeat at Rochester, Hampson came in for his debut in place of regular keeper Aaron McGuigan, Brad Large started at left back in place of Callum Gallie, who is away on holiday, young local striker Ben Boodle was handed his first start in place of leading scorer Luke Adams, also on holiday, and Steve Camacho came in for Charlie Clover who was available on the subs bench.
Godalming arrived at The Jockey Farm Stadium sitting at the bottom of the Combined Counties League Division One, but certainly did not start like a relegation side as they took the game to the Rustics from the start. Rusthall failed to get a grips with the midfield battle as the visitors staged regular attacks and were only thwarted by those two fine saves from Hampson on 24 and 35 minutes and it was the home side that went in at the interval happy that it was still 0-0.
Cheered on by the very vocal home supporters in the 2nd half, Rusthall made a dream start when on 47 minutes debutant Ben Boodle scored his first, first team goal on his full debut when he superbly met a corner from the right and his bullet of a header flew past keeper Jordan Knight and into the top left corner. This was the boost the Rustics needed and they really took the game to the visitors, Tommy Lawrence in midfield was dictating everything and Godlaming resorted to some desperate challenges to stop Rusthall flying forward Reuel Powell-Downey as Rusthall mounted attack after attack. The Rustics doubled their lead on 72 minutes when another fine passing move down the right led to a drilled cross and Powell-Downey headed home from 10 yards.
The stadium was now rocking with an atmosphere never before experienced at the ground but Rusthall were not able to get a 3rd to make the game safe and a nervous finish was ensured when the visitors were awarded a penalty on 83 minutes for hand ball. Ethan Keiser making no mistake from the spot.
However, the Rustics managed to safely see out the final minutes and progress to the next round. At the final whistle both teams were applauded off by the crowd of 148 (our biggest of the season) and it was also great to see the Godlaming keeper Jordan Knight come over to shake the hands of many of the home supporters, who had given him a hard time all throughout the game.
The Rustics earned £725 for Saturday victory and go into Mondays first round proper draw hoping for another home tie.
UP THE RUSTICS!