Rye United must win in the champions’ own back yard today (Saturday) to finish runners-up.
Three points away to Crawley Down in Rye’s 61st and final game of an epic season will ensure they come second in Division One of the Sussex County Football League on goal difference.
Rye manager Scott Price said: “It’s a cup final for us. I know we can beat them. I know we’re good enough and even if they play to their potential, if we play to ours, I think we’ll win the game.”
Guaranteed third place, Rye are three points behind current second place occupants Peacehaven & Telscombe, who have completed their programme, with an identical goal difference. Any sort of win will therefore take Rye above them.
“I think a lot of teams will want us to finish second,” continued Price, who will ensure his players applaud Crawley Down onto the pitch to congratulate them on their title success.
“Most teams know why we haven’t challenged as much as we probably should’ve done (due to a gruelling run of fixtures caused by their success in the various cup competitions) and the Three Bridges manager still thinks we’re the best team in the league.”
Crawley Down possess a formidable record at The Haven Sportsfield this season having won 17 and drawn one of their 18 home league matches, scoring 57 goals and conceding 11.
They’ve also won five and drawn one of their seven cup ties on their own patch in 2010-11, but their only home defeat in any competition this term was the 1-0 loss to Rye in round one of the FA Vase on October 2.
Sam Cole (ankle) is doubtful, and Jack Franklin (broken ankle) and Ben Radley (knee) are definitely out, but former Brighton & Hove Albion professional Paul Watson is expected to be available. Kick-off is 3pm.