An injury-time wonder goal from sub Jack Hardman saved Bosham’s blushes after Rustington were reduced to nine men and the Robins to ten in a fiery and physical SCFL division two affair at Walton Lane that finished 2-2.
Rustington arrived lying second in the table behind form side Roffey but the hosts made a very bright start on a testing pitch and after only 30 seconds Alex Barnes got a view of goal, but his effort was saved by keeper Tommy Yates.
Grant Radmore had a better chance when through on goal but Yates did enough to put the striker off.
The Blues raised their game with the likes of Ryan Harvey and Declan Jenkins both looking dangerous. Referee Bob Bell, wasn’t having the easiest of the times keeping tabs on players and cards were shown to keep both sides in check.
Keeper Nick Hall was forced off with a worrying-looking foot injury that saw Callum Fewell come off the bench.
Right on half-time Bosham got their noses in front as the excellent Radmore applied a finish to delight the home support. A lovely through ball sent Radmore on his way and the striker produced a calm finish to break the deadlock.
Around the 70-minute mark the Blues scored twice in a minute. First Kirkham found placed a well-directed shot past the dive of Fewell to half the deficit and with Bosham reeling, Chris Darwin raced through on goal past a static defence and fired a low shot into the net.
Bosham were thrown a lifeline with ten minutes left when Jenkins needlessly fouled a Bosham player and was given his marching orders for a second yellow.
The Reds upped the ante but were unable to break down a stubborn Blues defence until a moment of magic in the 90th minute.
Hardman received the ball around 30 yards out and after beating two defenders he placed a beautiful curling effort into the far corner.
The game was left with a sour note deep in injury time when Call Bennett was shown red for a moment of recklessness and the referee also showed a second card to Bosham’s Jake Lafferty, somewhat harshly, and he received his marching orders as well.
Bosham travel to near neighbours Sidlesham for the festive derby on Saturday.
Bosham: Hall, Neal, Bedford, Docherty, Bulbeck, James, Bell, Dowden, Brailey, Radmore, Barnes. Subs: Fewell, Hardman, Wilson, Lafferty.
Also in division two, Sidlesham slipped to a 3-2 defeat at Alfold. an early strike by Liam Bush and a late one by Daniel Byles could not save them and they’ll aim for better when Bosham visit.
In division one, Midhurst and Selsey were both without games last weekend.
Both are back in action this Saturday with home games.
Midhurst host Lingfield at Rotherfield while Seaford are the visitors to the High Street Ground. We’ll have reports in next Thursday’s Observer.