Baitup wins the battle

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A Baitup goal the difference as 100% record is maintained

Hastings Utd Women made it 3 wins out of 3 to start the season with a 1-0 win over Crawley based AFC Acorns. A second half Nicole Baitup goal and a Player of the Match display by defender Vix Phillips the key to the victory in the scorching Sussex sun.

As is typical of the U’s, they got onto the front foot early on to apply pressure. However, the absences of Sian Heather and Molly Hill were very clear. Whilst Georgia Tibble pulled strings in midfield, they lacked the final pass that has been key to their early season form. Consequently, the chances that Hastings had weren’t clear cut, the closest in the first half coming from a Georgia Tibble strike, as she connected with an over the top ball before firing narrowly wide.

Despite this, the U’s never really looked like conceding. As mentioned, Vix Phillips had a superb match at the back alongside the ever reliable Sophie Reed, but it wasn’t without its worry. 20 minutes in the visitors broke and had an effort from the edge of the box, but it was straight at Hamilton who comfortably made the save.

And apart from Faye Williams replacing Minnie Sheppard, there wasn’t much more that happened. Two defences on top, and a game at the break that it was difficult to see the scoreline changing in.

HT : Hastings Utd 0-0 AFC Acorns

The second half continued in a similar vein to the end of the first, with the majority of the ball being played in the midfield. However, in the 55th minute, the Hastings spark reared its head, and what a goal it led to.

Relf to Tibble. Tibble curls into the open space down the right hand side. Johnson gets there and squares to Baitup. Baitup knocks through the goalkeepers legs. Goal. Celebrations. 

An incisive breakaway that set the tone for the half. The U’s patience finally paying off, and in such style as well. A great moment personally for Baitup as well, being brought back into the side after injury, and being brought in from the wing to start as a striker. 

It was nearly 2 just 5 minutes later, when Baitup teed up Georgia Tibble from close range, but she lifted her effort over the crossbar. A spring in the step of Hastings.

After that the game returned to a quiet-ish state. Vix Phillips dealt with any threat in the Hastings half, and the U’s continued to push, with Tibble having an effort blocked and Baitup having one saved.

Acorns nearly grabbed a late equaliser in stoppage time, when a cross was put onto the post before being scrapped away. And, shortly afterwards, the final whistle was blown.

FT : Hastings Utd 1-0 AFC Acorns

The Ry-view – Given the absence of the two top scorers in the team, and other injuries, the U’s displayed professionalism and character to put in a resilient and patient display. A statement to the rest of the league that Hastings don’t just style it – they can scrap it too.

Hastings : Hamilton, Carter, Reed, Phillips (POTM), Relf ©, Critchfield, Hyland, Johnson, Tibble, Sheppard (Williams)((Corrigan))(((Sheppard)))*, Baitup

Unused subs : Carmichael, Sharp, Tewkesbury

*In order of withdrawal and return.

POTM : Vix Phillips

Next Fixture – Regents Park (H), 2pm, 12/9/21, Vitality Womens FA Cup

Ryan Segal