THEIR losing run might have continued, but Hailsham Town showed spirit in defeat on Tuesday night.
Having been two-down at half time in a Sussex County Football League Division One fixture away to third-placed opposition, the Stringers made a good fist of it after the break.
Although fielding a stronger side than of late, Hailsham were content to get bodies behind the ball and let Rye have it in the middle of the pitch during a first half bossed by the home team.
Rye opened the scoring in the 14th minute when Andy Atkin, who won countless headers during the match, marked his home debut by nodding in Anthony Storey’s right wing corner.
Atkin missed a great chance to add to his tally when he shot wide having been put through by Sam Adams, and then forced a good tip over out of goalkeeper Glenn Jenner after controlling Storey’s ball forward and turning.
Despite losing Nick Holland and Shaun Loft to injury in the first 25 minutes, it was all so easy for Rye and they doubled their money in the 42nd minute with a goal engineered by three ex-Eastbourne Borough players.
The set-piece deliveries of Storey and aerial threat of Atkin had been causing Hailsham all sorts of problems, and another Storey corner was flicked on by Atkin and turned in by Scott Ramsay, who had replaced Loft.
Rye took their foot off the pedal after the break and Hailsham came much more into the game as lone striker Shane Saunders received more support. Saunders, in fact, was whiskers away with a drive from outside the box.
At the other end, Martins Remess was denied a first Rye goal by the legs of Jenner after a great ball over the top by Atkin was knocked across goal by Storey. Atkin’s header from a Storey cross was well held by Jenner.
The game went rather flat until Ryan Alexander struck Rye’s post with a cracking free kick. Atkin, Remess and Sean Kelly had further chances for Rye, while home goalkeeper Callum Christie saved from Craig Norman.
Hailsham nabbed a consolation in the first minute of added time when a Saunders header from Craig Ottley’s left wing cross struck the underside of the crossbar, bounced down and was adjudged to have crossed the line.
Hailsham (4-5-1): Jenner; McCann, Alexander, Jarvis, Ottley; Norman (Blaney 81), Stevens, Salvidge, Fletcher, Dallaway; Saunders. Subs not used: Cavalier, Beckett.