Hastings United were beaten by bottom-of-the-table opposition in a local derby this afternoon (Saturday).
The U’s surrendered a 2-1 half time lead to lose 3-2 away to Eastbourne Town in Ryman Football League Division One South after conceding a late winner at a sunny Saffrons.
United got off to a bad start by conceding in only the fifth minute. Town striker Dominic Clarke outjumped the away defence and nodded the ball down for strike partner Billy Medlock to poke past Josh Pelling as it bounced up.
The visitors were level, though, just four minutes later. Tom Vickers was allowed to run at Town full-back Ryan Cooper and the midfielder buried a low shot inside James Broadbent’s near post.
Although defender Josh Jirbandey hobbled off, United then took the lead after 20 minutes. Trevor McCreadie played a good ball through to Frankie Sawyer, who rounded Broadbent and rolled it home with his left foot.
Former United player Tom Gilbert stabbed wide from the rebound after Clarke’s header from a Medlock free kick was parried by Pelling, while at the other end, McCreadie headed wide of the far post from Taser Hassan’s cross.
Both teams then struck the crossbar. Vickers clipped the top of the Town goal with a left-foot shot from the edge of the D before Medlock rattled United’s woodwork with a free kick from just outside the box.
Although Hassan was withdrawn through injury at half time, Vickers had a shot beaten out by Broadbent barely 20 seconds after the restart. Clarke then saw an effort cleared off the line by makeshift United centre-half Tim Olorunda.
Town probably ought to have had a penalty late in the first half and they did get one in the 53rd minute. Medlock’s shot was blocked by the raised arm of Ben Judge and Medlock proceeded to send Pelling the wrong way from the spot.
Olorunda’s header from a Danny Ellis free kick deflected just wide and McCreadie nodded Sawyer’s cross over the top, while Pelling gathered Medlock’s low drive and beat out a Layton Schaaf drive.
Sawyer and Bailo Camara had sights of Town’s goal before Olorunda headed against the angle of post and crossbar, but it was Town who grabbed the winner in the 87th minute. Clarke headed a corner against the crossbar and Adam Davidson slammed home the rebound to spark joyous scenes in the home camp.
Vickers flashed one last shot across the face of Town’s goal amid unsuccessful appeals for a penalty on a dreadfully disappointing afternoon for United but a very sweet one for Town’s former United manager John Lambert.
United: Pelling, Adams, Cruttwell (Corrigan), Olorunda, Judge, Jirbandey (Toney), Hassan (Camara), Ellis, Sawyer, McCreadie, Vickers. Subs not used: Pogue, Oyinsan. Attendance: 305.
Ryman Division One South top nine (played-points): 1 Peacehaven & Telscombe 37-86, 2 Leatherhead 38-76, 3 Guernsey 38-71, 4 Folkestone Invicta 37-70, 5 HASTINGS UNITED 36-65, 6 Faversham Town 37-58, 7 Merstham 36-58, 8 Burgess Hill Town 36-57, 9 Walton Casuals 36-57.