Rye to play the squad game over busy Easter

Rye Town forward Charlie Stevens tussles with Bexhill Town defender Zack McEniry last weekend. Pictures by Simon Newstead
Rye Town forward Charlie Stevens tussles with Bexhill Town defender Zack McEniry last weekend. Pictures by Simon Newstead

Rye Town manager Shane Ridgers says the whole squad will be utilised as the football club prepares for two key home games over the Easter weekend.

Rye will firstly entertain Bexhill AAC in a Macron East Sussex Football League Premier Travel Challenge Cup quarter-final sponsored by Rope Walk Cafe tomorrow (Saturday). Kick-off at The Salts is 2.30pm.

Richard 'Alfie' Weller on the ball against Bexhill Town last weekend.

Richard 'Alfie' Weller on the ball against Bexhill Town last weekend.

They are also at home on Easter Monday in an attractive-looking league fixture against unbeaten leaders Hollington United. Kick-off in a game sponsored by Tom Jebb Painting and Decorating Services is 3pm.

Ridgers said: “I’m looking forward to the weekend. It’s two big games and it will be two strong (Rye) sides, but a fair amount of changes between the two games. The whole squad will be utilised.”

Rye goalkeeper Joe Ramsden can only play in one of the two matches and is likely to play tomorrow, so Ridgers himself will probably don the gloves on Monday.

Sammy Foulkes and Adam Hurley are available on Monday but not tomorrow, while Sam Henham, who is nursing a knee problem, and Dom Cruttenden, who is coming back from injury, are unlikely to play both games.

Although Rye, who are third in the Premier Division, play a level above Division One promotion hopefuls Bexhill, Ridgers knows they will be in for a tough contest.

Rye came from 2-0 down to beat AAC 3-2 in last season’s Robertsbridge Charity Intermediate Cup final.

“They’ve got some good players in good areas and I believe they’ve strengthened on last year as well,” continued Ridgers. “It’s going to be a tough game.”

After that Rye will turn their attention to facing a Hollington team which they were moments away from beating in the drawn reverse fixture and which they narrowly lost to in a Hastings & District FA Intermediate Cup tie last month.

“Realistically the league game doesn’t mean a massive thing for our position because I don’t think we’ll finish first or second, or lower than fourth,” Ridgers went on. “Our goal for the season in the league has kind of been achieved already.

“But the Hollington fixture is something we talked about as the biggest game of the season for us, especially when they come down to Rye. It will be a fantastic game even though there’s nothing really riding on it from our point of view in the league.

“They will be looking forward to coming over, but they will be knowing they’re going to be in for a good battle. They’re going to be a very strong side and we’re looking forward to that battle.”

Rye will go into the Easter double off the back of a 4-2 extra-time win away to Bexhill Town in last weekend’s Robertsbridge Charity Intermediate Cup quarter-final, although they needed a 90th minute equaliser from Dom Cruttenden just to force the additional half-hour. Read a report on the game here.

Ridgers said: “Even before Dom scored, I still had that gut feeling we were going to get one more chance and we were going to equalise.

“They were starting to tire and I knew if it went into extra-time we would carve out more chances.

“I was thinking about what penalty takers to have and there were probably seven players which I would’ve had to pull out a hat if they all wanted to take one because they’re all very good. I was quietly confident whatever way it went.”

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