Rusthall make Nuts and Bolts fans suffer
ASHFORD UNITED withstood a late Rusthall fightback to finish the season on a high at Homelands on Saturday.
The hosts stormed into a four-goal lead and it looked like they were set to rack up a rugby score.
But the plucky visitors fought back and a healthy contingent of Nuts and Bolts fans had to endure a nerve-jangling final few minutes as their side battled to hold out.
Both teams traded blows in the opening stages and despite Rusthall occupying a position towards the wrong end of the table, they were giving a good account of themselves.
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However, United looked that bit more dangerous in attack and they took the lead through Aaron Firth.
Liam Whiting delivered a delightful through-ball into Firth's path and he kept his cool to round the Rusthall keeper before passing into an empty net to his visible relief.
Striker Firth has struggled for goals at Homelands and he sank to his knees after netting the opener.
Rusthall threatened to reply but veteran keeper Mo Munden was on hand to deal with a long-range effort and a tricky corner that held up in the wind.
United always looked the more likely going forward and they very nearly got their second through Peter Williams.
He burst clear of the defence and delivered a deft chip that beat the goalkeeper only for it to drift wide of the right upright.
Paul Chambers' sides were on the hunt for a second to put the game to bed and it came four minutes into the break.
Liam Whiting struck the post and after a goalmouth melee the rebound eventually fell to Roy Guiver who banged in from close range.
Guiver netted his second soon after when Williams headed into his path and the defender-turned-striker finished with ease.
A marvellous covering tackle from Liam Walsh – after his captain Ben Jordan had slipped – ensured United's lead remained at three but it was soon four just before the hour.
Hat-trick hunting Guiver chased a seemingly lost cause but it proved to be fruitful as the Rusthall right-back, in his attempts to put the ball out for a corner, struck into the bottom corner.
Game, set and match – or so you thought.
Rusthall had other ideas and when they got one back with 20 minutes to go they seemed to get a second wind.
Whiting attempted to block a shot with his head but he only served to deflect it past a helpless Munden.
They scored on 81 and 83 and it was very much game on with 10 minutes to play.
But United ensured it wasn't a dismal season-ending day as they held on to take the points.