One Goal Enough to Defeat Rusthall
City record narrow win at home against struggling Rusthall
Canterbury City 1 Rusthall 0
A game of few chances saw City come away with a single goal victory against a Rusthall side that showed very little going forward and in the end, the two late chances City squandered proved not to be crucial to the result.
It was a fairly sedate opening period with little to note early on. Jamie Maxted poked the ball just wide from a corner, while Wayne Wilson saw his forty-yard strike patted down to safety by visiting keeper James Holdsworth. The game continued in much the same vein with a Dave Pilcher dangerous cross snaffled by Holdsworth being the only further action until City took a twenty-third minute lead.
Wilson slipped Matt Martin into the box and as he was about to shoot, a perfectly timed sliding challenge came in and dispossessed him at the expense of a corner which Pilcher swung in for Laurence Harvey to move onto and plant a downward header over the line for 1-0 - the goal given despite desperate attempts and claims from the Rusthall defence that they had cleared it.
Tom Barton then saw a fierce shot beaten away by Holdsworth, but the pattern of the game was clear - Rusthall just couldn't get anything going forward despite a fair amount of possession, while City were always probing but not really doing enough with their dominance. In fact it wasn't until added time that City's next chance came as Ryan Catmull did well to burst through three challenges before lofting his eventual finish well over the bar.
Little to report then in a rather pedestrian first half which was interspersed with an occasional bit of City penetration that saw them just a goal ahead at the break.
The second half then proceeded in a very similar pattern. The first chance fell to City when a lovely ball in from Pat Nzuzi - following a great turn away from his marker - flew across the box but neither Barton, Wilson or Pilcher could get enough on it to steer it goalwards.
With City keeper Jack Delo virtually a spectator so far, he was almost called into action for the first time on fifty-five minutes but as he prepared himself for a Jordan Jones volley, he could only watch as it skied well up in the air and sailed out of the ground, before bouncing on down the approach road.
It was City that were creating the only chances but they just couldn't turn them into goals, Nzuzi saw a shot charged down before Barton then saw his effort saved by Holdsworth. On seventy-one minutes, the hosts should have doubled their lead when an overhit cross was well retrieved by Barton whose clever pass found Martin in the box. After a lovely little turn away from his marker and having three-quarters of the goal to aim at, he curled his shot well away from the keeper but it agonisingly struck the bar and was cleared.
Just a minute later, another clear chance went begging for City when Barton was provider again, this time an adroit pass into space allowed Billy Lewins free in on goal and having rounded the keeper he could only stab his shot the wrong side of the post for another 'should have scored' moment to pass City by.
City continued to press forward and Lewins saw his shot blocked after an exquisite back flick from Pilcher had played him in while a Wilson effort took a heavy deflection before rolling kindly through to Holdsworth. There was still next to nothing going forward from the visitors although inbetween times, Jack Humphrey did manage to curl a long shot well wide.
In the closing minutes, City continued to look the only side likely to score. Martin burst through clear on goal but was hauled down by a defender with a yellow card challenge and Pilcher's free-kick was just headed out at the near post to the relative safety of a corner. A minute into stoppage time City did have the ball in the net again when a cross was knocked on towards goal by a defender and then mis-handled by the keeper allowing substitute Matt Catmull to sneak it in at the far post, but curiously he was judged to have been offside.
In the fourth and final minute of stoppage time, a beleaguered Rusthall finally managed to haul themselves forward with a late attacking free-kick, which was wastefully struck straight at the City wall and an even later corner which came to nothing.
A single goal victory in the end for City was all that was needed against a toothless Rusthall which also meant City weren't left ruing the two second-half sitters that they'd missed.
Final score; Canterbury City 1 Rusthall 0
City; Jack Delo, Ryan Catmull, Jamie Maxted (Will Hadler), Dan Keyte, Laurence Harvey, Pat Nzuzi, Tom Barton (Matt Catmull), Wayne Wilson, Billy Lewins (Rob Lawrence), Dave Pilcher, Matt Martin
Unused subs; Robel Grant, Ollie Mentessi