3 days on from a winning league start against The Gables, Rutherford were back in action against a huge Royce side. A lack of organisation hit a new low for the Reds as the team arrived with no recognised goalkeeper, no pumped up footballs, no sports sec and no goalkeeping gloves. Alex Rickenbach deputised in net while Cal Miles and Kolby Pistak were making their first starts of the season.
Royce began outplaying Rutherford from the first minute with incisive passing and a seriously big unit up top. He made even Tom Aitken look small. Royce took the lead inside 15 minutes thanks to a very debatable penalty decision, well stroked home in the bottom right corner before Rutherford had even managed an attempt on target. 0-1
Against the run of play however, Alex Martin got himself on the end of a ball into the box and tucked the ball inside the post coolly to restore parity. A fantastic piece of opportunism from the makeshift right winger. 1-1.
It is worth noting that the wind at the PEC, as is always the case on campus, was hurricane-like and in Royce’s favour in the first half. This was highlighted by Royce’s second goal when a corner floated over Rickenbach and was tapped in at the far post. Just before half time, Rickenbach made amends with a superb 1 on 1 stop from Royce’s big man Lloyd Daniels, and ensured there was only one goal in it at the break.
Nobody could foresee what was going to happen in the first 20 minutes of the second half. James Morgan, who finally showed up with a pair of gloves, replaced Rickenbach in goal while Huz Azam came on in the middle of the park and immediately started making a difference. It was Al Roberts who notched up Rutherford’s second leveller of the game, bursting into the Royce box and slotting home from 15 yards. 2-2.
Ruthless Rutherford, with the wind literally in their sails, then scored goal number 3 when a scrappy cross from the left hand side was slammed home by Azam from a yard out. The big Royce lads were looking shell-shocked, but not as much as Coach Williams who couldn’t believe what he was seeing.
Just 5 minutes later a Rutherford corner was cleared only as far as Catlow, whose terrible first touch took him into the box but wide of the Royce goal. He then felt a faint touch from the Royce left back and decided to take a calculated tumble, knowing that the referee would be looking to ‘level things up’ following his shocking penalty decision in the first half. He duly pointed to the spot for Rutherford’s second penalty of the week. Catlow again took this one but his woeful effort hit the keepers’ legs. Fortunately, the ball bounced straight back to the Rutherford wideman who tapped in the rebound. Reds now 4-2 up with 15 minutes to play.
Royce began looking increasingly desperate and another couple of Reds substitutes were made to help see the game out. Centre backs Tom Stewart-Green and Tom Aitken dealt with every long ball hoofed at them in the second half, ensuring Rutherford saw out the remaining minutes to go top of the league with 6 points from 6. Hopefully there will be footballs, keeping gloves and missing personnel back for next Saturday’s crunch game against Falk Egg.
RESULT: Rutherford 4 (Martin, Roberts, Azam, Catlow) – Royce 2.
Alex Rickenbach (GK)
Adam Walker, Tom Aitken, Tom Stewart-Green, Gareth Connor
Alex Martin, Al Roberts, Tom Mclachlan (Capt), Cal Miles, Lewis Catlow