After a deluge of rain the night before The Continental Pilot Field plays host to Corinthian where the bitter taste is still in the ‘U’s memory of their controversial win, questions of the officials and sportsmanship still talked about among the club.
The sky is cloudy still as the players enter the pitch, Hastings United 9 points above Cray Valley PM in second place whilst Corinthian sit in 11th place.
Corinthian start the first half however its United who pressurize the defense when Knory Scott lifts a ball towards Finn O’Mara who heads the ball down to Ben Pope, the keeper is ready for the shot and makes a fine save.
In the 9th minute Knory Scott then bosses the right wing to bring the ball square into the feet of Ben Pope in the penalty area, his first shot is blocked by a defender, his second shot hits the back of the net and the crowd roars in delight.
The pressure remains all Hastings with more chances falling to Danny Parrish and Ben Pope however the defense do their job and clear their lines.
Corinthian suffered a moment of panic when the defenders mistimed header goes just over the bar, the resulting corner produces a magnificent Knory Scott shot where the keeper tips the ball over, the next corner is claimed comfortably by the keeper and Finn O’Mara finds himself in the book for blocking the goalkeepers clearance attempt.
In the 31st minute Ollie Black finds himself in some space and neatly threads the ball to the feet of Danny Parish, Parish knows he can’t get a clear shot so squares to Ben Pope who fires the hosts 2-0 up from 6 yards out.
Hastings maintain pressure in the final 15 minutes with the Corinthian keeper making superb saves from Danny Parish, Ben Pope, Craig Stone and Knory Scott.
As the referee blows for half-time the sound of ?Benny Pope is magic, he wears a pointy hat, and when the lord came down to him, he said you must attack ? is echoing around the ground.
HT: Hastings United 2 – 0 Corinthian
Hastings United start the second half however its Corinthian who are trying a little harder, forcing Louis Rogers into action when a neat cross is played into the box.
Finn O’Mara and Ben Pope both have headers saved from the Corinthian keeper until Danny Parish’s left foot shot is tipped over the bar by the keeper. The ‘U’s keep the pressure up and Corinthian are unable to get out of their own half.
Danny Parish has the chance to show what he can do with a free kick when he curls it over the wall, the keeper not sure whats happening has the ball hit him in the chest, the ball falls to a Corinthian player who clears their lines.
Danny Parish has been an absolute play-maker this second half and finds himself in the box with the ball ready to strike, the defender brings Parish down and instantly the referee points to the spot. In the 82nd minute up steps Ben Pope who sends the keeper the wrong way and earns his hat-trick and put the ‘U’s 3-0 up.
Hastings keep the pressure off themselves with some excellent defensive football and see out the last 7 minutes with no real incidents, cheers around the pitch when the referee blows his whistle for FT.
FT: Hastings United 3 – 0 Corinthian
Man of the Match: Ben Pope
Radio Attendance: 34
1. Louis Rogers 2. Ollie Black (Replaced by 19. Dave Martin 79′) 4. Finn O’Mara (Cautioned: 27′) 5. Craig Stone 6. Tom Chalmers 7. Danny Parish 8. Jack Dixon (Replaced By 14. Kenny Pogue 86′) 9. Ben Pope (Goal 9′, Goal 31′, Goal 82′ Pen) 10. Sam Adams 16. Kane Penn 18. Knory Scott (Replaced by 11. James Hull 72′)
Subs: 11. James Hull 14. Kenny Pogue 15. Ismaila Diallo 17. Tommy Cooney 19. Dave Martin
1. Aiden Prall 2. A. Jack Billings 3. Frankie Morgan 4. Lekan Majoyegbe 5. James Billings 6. Ryan Sawyer 7. Josh James 8. Jamie Miller (Cautioned: 56′, Replaced By 16. Jeremiah Pinder 83′) 9. Harvey Smith (Replaced By 12. Charles Edmundson 73′) 10. Emmanuel Oloyede 11. Joshua Stirman (Replaced By 14. Ryan Atkinson 61’)
Subs: 12. Charles Edmundson 14. Ryan Atkinson 15. Archie Panyi 16. Jeremiah Pinder 17. Jack Bath
Cray Valley PM lost 2-1 in their game against Three Bridges, Hastings United now sit 10 points clear at the top, with Ashford United in 2nd with a game in hand.