WESTCLIFF moved six points clear of the National Two South drop zone with a hard-fought 21-8 win against Sutton & Epsom at the Gables.

Westcliff rallied late on to secure a vital victory.

And their first team manager Rick Compton felt it was an important triumph.

“It was a very significant result for us,” said Compton.

“Winning it was important and not winning it would have been a real blow.

“I think that showed at times because, in truth, we weren’t great.

“We have played better and lost, and we have played better against Sutton and lost.

“We put ourselves in good positions but failed to execute too many times and a tightness crept into our game.

“But never mind that for now though, it was all about the result and from being a point behind inside the final 10 minutes we found a way to both win and get the Sutton bogey off our back.”

Westcliff were keen to start on the front foot and by and large did so, controlling possession and enjoying territorial advantage in the opening stages.

The early pressure was rewarded after 13 minutes with Jim Smith smuggling the ball from team-mate Kostas Dellas and peeling off as the line approached to touch down under the posts.

Greg Bannister’s conversion made it 7-0 and the score stayed the same until half-time.

After the break, Sutton replied with a penalty and, with Westcliff failing to convert pressure into points, the visitors started to enjoy more possession.

But, inside the last 10 minutes, both teams lost a man to the sin-bin and Sutton’s front row squeezed over the line to put them 8-7 in front.

However, Westcliff replied with Bannister and Jack Hogarth helping to set up Myles Bean for his first try for the club.

Jack Jones added the conversion before Westcliff extended their lead in bizarre fashion as Chris Bolton’s chipped ball forward was being watched dutifully by a Sutton defender.

But as he dithered, Westcliff’s Ian Dartnell dropped on the ball to bag a try Jones converted to seal Westcliff’s win.

Westcliff: Bannister, Spivey, Campey, R Smith, Bean, Jones, Bolton, Dellas, Morrant, Binneman, Vandermolen, Dartnell, Lynch, Webber, J Smith. Replacements: Weston, S Reynolds, Hogarth, Scogings & Hughes