Hastings United’s footballers produced surely their best home performance of the season this afternoon (Saturday).
The U’s made it six wins from their last seven Ryman Football League Division One South matches with an impressive 5-1 victory at home to South Park.
United played some very good football as they outclassed ninth-placed opposition. Five different players got on the scoresheet and four of the goals came during the first half.
The home side got on top from the word go and South Park struggled to get out of their own half during the opening 10 minutes. United drew first blood in the fourth minute when Sam Cruttwell’s long throw was flicked on by Sean Ray and Simon Johnson volleyed home at the far post.
Sam Adams was denied by outrushing South Park goalkeeper James Wastell following a good ball from Sam Crabb, Chris Cumming-Bart’s cross was headed against the outside of the far post by Jack Harris and Cruttwell blasted Billy Medlock’s cut-back over the crossbar from the edge of the box as United dominated.
Joe Jackson should’ve brought South Park level from a rare attack, but headed over from close range. United went two-up midway through the first half when Ray met Cumming-Bart’s corner with a good header to score for the second consecutive game.
Two minutes later it was 3-0. Johnson’s mishit shot fell kindly for Harris, who took a touch to control before coolly dinking the ball beyond Wastell.
The goals just kept on coming as South Park pulled one back in the 27th minute. A free kick from the away left dropped for Karl Parker to fire home on the turn.
Kieran Lavery then rattled United’s crossbar with a terrific strike from just outside the D, but moments later at the other end, Johnson was thwarted by Wastell.
South Park played a high defensive line and United cut through them with frequent regularity. The U’s made it 4-1 in the 41st minute, Johnson slipping the ball through for Medlock to slot into the bottom corner.
The scoring almost inevitably slowed after half time, but United continued to boss possession with some eye-catching football. One lovely moved involving Sam Adams and Sam Crabb ended with Harris heading straight at Wastell.
Lavery glanced a header just wide of the far post for South Park and seconds later United scored their fifth in the 66th minute. Harris laid the ball off for Cruttwell to bury a crisp low drive just inside the near post from around 20 yards.
Harris saw an acrobatic effort deflect into the side-netting, Medlock’s shot from outside the box was parried by Wastell and in added time Adams brought a diving stop out of the goalkeeper with a tremendous effort from distance.
United: Pelling, Crabb, Wilson, Rowe, Ray, Cruttwell (Foster 72), Medlock, Adams, Harris (Temba 78), Johnson, Cumming-Bart (Hollobone 72). Subs not used: Richardson-Brown, Rose. Attendance: 281.
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