Baitup’s double blast keeps faint promotion hopes alive for United

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Despite a dream start Eastbourne United made heavy weather of seeing off a spirited Rustington side.

United were lively and Liam Baitup headed home a Simon Catt corner after only four minutes.

Paul Daubeney’s men continued to dominate with some neat passing and always looked capable of scoring again with Catt in particular enjoying the wet conditions.

It was he who set up the second goal when his low shot from the right was parried into the path of Baitup by keeper Jack Bonetti, a relative of Peter “The Cat” Bonetti.

The only real response from Rustington came by way of a powerful header from a corner by centre back Mike Sayers that just cleared the cross bar.

The second half saw Rustington come more into the game and begin to look dangerous as United were unable to put the game beyond their reach.

James Bennett and Gavin Heather both had clear chances but shot straight at a grateful Lee Daubeney in the home goal.

A goal began to look likely for Rustington and it came on seventy-one minutes when United failed in a number of attempts to clear their lines with any conviction and Bennett was on hand to turn in a cross at the far post.

This shook United into immediate response and Catt beat the keeper to a left wing cross from Tony Russell, who had looked lively after replacing Jamie Bunn, flicking the ball over his head and heading home.

United saw out the game with Shaun Lee and Lee Jules having to make timely late challenges and Baitup being denied a hat-trick by the post.

Four games to go and nothing less than 12 points will do.

The victory keeps United fifth on 49 points seven points behind third placed Dorking.

UNITED: L Daubeney 7, Lee 7, Hughes 7, Jules 7, Featherstone 7, Stracey 7, Del-Guadio 7, Trickett 7 (Walshe), Catt 8, Baitup 7, Bunn 7 (Russell 7) MOM Simon Catt. Att: 63