After recent poor results, Midhurst could have been forgiven for pinching themselves when they walked off the pitch at Rustington with a 5-1 Sussex League division two win in the bank.
On a pitch that was in good condition despite wet weather, Midhurst performed their usual trick of starting brightly then going off the boil.
After 15 minutes, Rustington’s James Bennett received an accurate pass from David Cooper and he put the ball past Scott Lilleywhite in the Midhurst goal.
Regular Midhurst supporters could be forgiven for expecting further goals against - but a change of fortune was signalled when, four minutes after Rustington’s goal, Liam Dreckman took advantage of a fumbled clearance by Jon Bonneti and Midhurst were level.
From then on, Midhurst were looking the more likely scorers.
Rustington realised they would not find it easy to impose their close passing football on their visitors, while Midhurst were looking much more confident.
It was Rustington who looked a struggling team facing possible relegation - not Midhurst.
Five minutes before half-time, Rustington’s Richard Adams was injured but resumed after treatment.
Soon a pinpoint pass from Dreckman reached Harry Menhah, who made the score 2-1 to Midhurst.
The restart saw Midhurst apparently claim a further goal, but it was chalked off for a foul.
Rustington lifted their game and on the hour, the home side replaced David Cooper with David Swain.
On 65 minutes, Ollie Pearce netted a good goal after receiving a pass from Oliver Rowland.
It wasn’t long before Ian Saunders netted from a corner.
He thought he had added to his goal tally as the ball entered the Rustington net for the fifth time, but it was deemed to have struck a home defender so was classed as an own goal.
Midhurst boss Trevor Waller brought on Luke Sheldrick and Idris Nazir as the Stags held on comfortably for a fine win.
They were frustrated on bank holiday Monday when the home match with Storrington fell victim to a waterlogged pitch at Rotherfield.
This Saturday the first XI visit Dorking Wanderers while the seconds host Pease Pottage.
Both games are 1.45pm starts.
MIDHURST: Lillywhite, Castleton, Dummer, Reilly, Crawford, Saunders, Pearce, Rowland, Maneh, Sheldrick, Idris.