HASTINGS United are through to the second round proper of the FA Cup for the first time in their history.
The U’s rewrote the club record books with a dramatic 2-1 victory away to higher grade Bishop’s Stortford this afternoon.
Hastings started the first round tie slowly and went behind in the seventh minute when Matt Johnson was given too much space outside the box and scored with a low drive into the corner.
After the initial onslaught Hastings gradually grew into the game as the first half wore on. Bradley Goldberg had a shot beaten out and a Danny Ellis header was clawed out by the keeper with Hastings claiming the ball had crossed the line.
Although Hastings trailed at half-time there was a real feeling they could still get something out of the game.
Player-boss Sean Ray made an important goalline block to keep out Danny Green’s header and then made a great tackle on Steve Cawley to prevent a near certain goal.
Goldberg’s low shot after a great run by Ellis was pushed round the post and from the resulting Lee Carey corner Ray forced the ball home at the far post for the equaliser.
Matt Armstrong-Ford was forced into a smart tip over from Ricky Sappleton header.
Both sides then failed to make the most of a decent chance with Goldberg blazing well over from inside the box and Cawley shooting wide from a similar distance at the other end.
But Hastings won it on 87 minutes when Goldberg’s shot from outside the box was parried by the keeper and Zac Attwood turned in the rebound.
Sappleton headed over but United held on for an historic victory and there were joyous scenes as players, management and fans celebrated after the final whistle.
Bishop’s Stortford: Chambers, Sinclair-Furlonge, Herd, Prestedge, Anderson, Francis, Johnson, Waller-Lassen, Sappleton, Cawley, Green. Subs: Milton, Webb, Abdullahi, Livings, Sturrock, Duncan, Kitteridge.
Hastings: Armstrong-Ford, Cox, Richardson, Carey, Ray, Jirbandey, Manning, Crellin, Goldberg, Attwood, Ellis. Subs: Dixon, Whitehead, Okojie, Camara, Winchester.