Another early FA Cup exit for United

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HASTINGS United’s miserable run in the FA Cup continued as they were brushed aside 3-0 at home to Cray Wanderers.

The defeat means The U’s haven’t won a single match - or picked up a penny in prize money - in the world’s most famous knockout competition since September 2006.

Hastings also finished this first round qualifying tie with only 10 men following the second half sending-off of winger Arron Hopkinson who was shown a straight red card following a clash with Cray’s Aaron Day who was booked.

By then Cray were already a goal to the good, but with their opponents left with no alternative but to chase the game they made the most of the gaps in the home defence to strike twice more in front of a paltry crowd of just 251.

The FA Cup draw has rarely been kind for Hastings in recent years with this all-Ryman Premier tie being no exception.

Cray kicked off as firm favourites on the back of a run of five wins from their opening seven fixtures, and it wasn’t long before they began to boss proceedings at The Pilot Field.

They took the lead midway through the first half when Jack Clark’s free kick smacked against the underside of the crossbar and Tommy Whitnell was quickest to the loose ball.

Sam Long then fired over the angle of Lloyd Anderson’s goal before Clark saw his drive hit the base of the near post.

Hastings threw on Ben Billings for the start of the second half and it was from his cross that Kenny Pogue failed to make a proper connection and his first time finish went well wide.

The closest they came to getting on the scoresheet was on 57 minutes when Fred Foreman’s free kick was met by the onrushing Matt Hall but his sidefoot was deflected just past the far post.

Pogue also fired into the side netting but that was to prove his last piece of action because not long after he had to be stretchered off after going down injured.

Other these incidents Cray looked pretty comfortable with former Hastings manager Tony Dolby rarely troubled in the heart of their defence.

They made sure of their place in the next round when Whitnell drilled home from 12 yards and the same player completed his hat-trick after outpacing Jack Dixon and rounding Anderson.

Hastings: Anderson, Dixon, Sutton (Billings 46), Ray, Manning, Jirbandey, Crellin, Walder (Hopkinson 55), Pogue (Jones 71), Foreman, Hall. Subs not used: Carey, Whyborne, Bolwell. Booked: Crellin. Sent-off: Hopkinson.

Cray: Walker, Long, Bentley, Day, Dolby, Sterling, Whitnell, Saunders (Akosah 69), Coleman (McLeod 73), Phillips, Clark. Subs not used: Humphris, Barnett, Bremner, Willy, Hall. Booked: Bentley, Day, Akosah.

Referee: Wade Norcott (Harlow). Attendance: 251.