On a blustery wet day in Hastings the ‘U’s look to keep the push towards being Isthmian South East League champions at home against Phoenix Sports.
United sit at the top of the league 6 points clear of their nearest rival Cray Valley PM who the ‘U’s will meet in just 3 weeks time away.
Phoenix Sports make the bold decision to have the ‘U’s shooting towards the Steve Smith stand in the first half.
Whilst the fans make their way around Sports kick off.
Hastings remain largely on top in the first half, producing the best chances from Sam Hasler and Knory Scott who both fire high, the wind seems to be playing a big part in the balls movement. Knory Scott looks to put the ‘U’s in the lead on the half hour mark but the linesman deems he was offside. The half ends all square.
As the players come out for the second half the crowd will be looking for more entertainment, the ‘U’s bring on new signing Ismalia Diallo replacing Marcus Goldsmith.
Hastings start the second half however Sports are finding space and force a save from Louis Rogers in the opening minute, the ‘U’s are unable to get the ball out of their own half and Phoenix Sports are able to open the scoring thanks to a neat cross into the box which Alfie Evans heads beyond the reach of Louis Rogers, the Sports players celebrate a massive goal against Hastings.
Rather than dwell on the goal the ‘U’s manage to string a few passes together and pile the pressure back on Sports, 2 minutes after the goal a long ball reaches Diallo who runs into the box and squares the ball to Knory Scott who unselfishly passes to Sam Adams who’s shot hits the top corner the ‘U’s equalize.
Phoenix Sports kick back off and instantly Hastings are pressing high again, Finn O’Mara goes just wide from a corner, the momentum is all Hastings, a long ball up the wing looks to be heading out for a goal kick however Tom Chalmers has other ideas and brilliantly keeps the ball in play by heading the ball down to Jack Dixon who smashes the ball home from close range. 7 minutes after being 1-0 down the ‘U’s find themselves 2-1 up.
United maintain their pressure with new signing Diallo playing havoc for the defenders, he finds a low pass to Ben Pope who keeps the ball in the area then lays off to Jack Dixon who shoots just wide.
Sam Hasler is brought down in a reckless challenge for Sports, Hasler doesn’t look right when he gets up and is instantly subbed for Ryan Worrall, Sam Adams is also replaced by James Hull.
The ‘U’s keep the ball with shots from Tom Chalmers and Ben Pope both just over the bar.
In the dying minutes of extra time James Hull finds himself running into the box and is brought down by the defender, the referee take a moment to consider the fowl whether the contact was inside or outside the box he then points to the penalty spot where Ben Pope’s shot into the bottom left corner is too much for the keeper who guesses the right way and its 3-1 to the ‘U’s.
The referee blows for full time and United remain 6 points clear!
Hastings United: 1. Louis Rogers 4. Fin O’Mara 5. Craig Stone 6. Tom Chalmers 8. Jack Dixon 9. Ben Pope 10. Sam Adams (James Hull 80′) 11. Sam Hasler (Ryan Worrall 78′) 12. Marcus Goldsmith (Ismaila Diallo 46′) 17. Tommy Cooney 18. Knory Scott | Subs: 3. Ryan Worrall (Sam Hasler 78′) 7. James Hull (Sam Adams 80′) 14. Kenny Pogue 15. Ismaila Diallo (Marcus Goldsmith 46′) 19. Dave Martin
Phoenix Sports: 1. Charlie Martin 2. Lee Bird (Thomas O’Connor 75′) 3. Thomas Cousins 4. Lewis Clark 5. Toib Adeyemui (Cautioned 90+2′) 6. Henry Douglas 7. Bertie Valler 8. Malaki Toussaint 9. Wade Adedoyin (Calvin Poku 72′) 10. Steve Carvell 11. Alfie Evans (Cautioned 74′) | Subs: Calvin Poku (Wade Adedoyin 72′) 14 Byron Walker (Thomas O’Connor 84′) 15. Thomas O’Connor (Lee Bird 75′ | Byron Walker 84′) 17. Danny Kemp 16. Wayne Bushell
Goal Scorers: 55′ Alfie Evans (Phoenix Sports). 58′ Sam Adams (Hastings United). 63′ Jack Dixon (Hastings United). 90+2’ Ben Pope (penalty)
Man of the Match: Tom Chalmers