An ambulance was called to treat the referee as Hastings United Football Club contested its first home league draw of the season tonight (Tuesday).
Match official John Pike required medical assistance after becoming unwell with around 15 minutes remaining, but was understood to be relatively okay once treated by the fast-arriving paramedics.
As for the football, United recovered from 2-0 and 3-2 down to salvage a deserved 3-3 draw against Corinthian-Casuals in Ryman League Division One South.
It was a bizarre game in the sense that the first half had nothing and the second period had everything. Neither goalkeeper had a genuine save to make during a wholly forgettable opening 45 minutes, but the match sprung to life soon after the restart.
Casuals drew first blood in the 49th minute when the ball broke to Niall Wright just inside the box and he picked out the bottom corner with an accurate finish.
Sam Cole was denied by a good save from the feet of Casuals goalkeeper Danny Bracken before Casuals doubled their advantage in the 54th minute. Josh Uzun sent United stopper Harry Girling the wrong way from the penalty spot after Cole upended Warren Morgan with a sliding challenge just inside the box on the away right.
United pulled one back just three minutes later. Sean Ray got to Ollie Rowe’s free kick into the area and the ball dropped for Zac Attwood to squeeze between two Casuals defenders before dinking a neat finish beyond Bracken.
The home side had a penalty appeal turned down when Sam Adams appeared to be pushed in the back, while the referee’s yellow card started to appear frequently as things became quite heated.
United equalised in the 76th minute. Sam Cruttwell’s long throw from the left bounced up against the arm of Casuals defender Terry Murray and Cole rolled home the resulting penalty.
Before play restarted, however, the referee suddenly became unwell and was stretchered off the pitch to the waiting ambulance. The match was held up for around 25 minutes until resuming with one of the linesman taking over the whistle.
Casuals went back in front in the 85th minute. Girling got his hand to Brandon Johnson’s low left-foot shot from outside the box, but couldn’t prevent it nestling in the net - to the delight of the visiting players.
But United again fought back to earn a share of the spoils with an 88th minute leveller. Girling’s long free kick from in front of the home dugout dropped to Simon Johnson, who unleashed a superb half volley from inside the D which flashed past Bracken.
United: Girling, Rowe, Cruttwell, Johnson, Ray, Walder, Medlock, Cumming-Bart (Richardson-Brown 62), Attwood, Adams, Cole. Subs not used: Foster, Temba, Smith, Wilson. Attendance: 249.
Ryman Division One South top 13 (played-points): 1 Folkestone Invicta 32-76, 2 Worthing 33-65, 3 Dorking Wanderers 32-60, 4 Herne Bay 32-59, 5 Guernsey 32-58, 6 Faversham Town 32-54, 7 HASTINGS UNITED 28-53, 8 Ramsgate 32-52, 9 South Park 32-52, 10 Molesey 31-51, 11 Carshalton Athletic 33-51, 12 Corinthian-Casuals 30-50, 13 Hythe Town 30-50.
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