Chris Agutter’s first game as Hastings United Football Club’s manager ended in a high scoring defeat this afternoon (Saturday).
Agutter, whose appointment was confirmed this morning with the announcement that previous boss Adam Hinshelwood had gone to Worthing, watched his charges lose 4-3 at Molesey.
Hastings recovered from 2-0 and 3-1 down to level at 3-3 only for Molesey to nab the winner in an entertaining Bostik Football League Division One South encounter.
Although the result extended Hastings’ winless run to six matches, they did at least produce a fairly encouraging performance but their ongoing defensive struggles proved costly.
Michael Aziaya and Lee Carey were restored to the starting line-up, while Sam Beale returned from injury at left-back and new signing Kenny Pogue went straight into the side up-front.
John Akoto, who has been recalled from Eastbourne Town, featured for the first time this season as a substitute and performed well.
After a fairly even opening 20 minutes during which both sides had slight opportunities, Hastings conceded twice in quick succession.
Some slack marking allowed Olu Akinsanya to open the scoring and Antonio Simeone made it 2-0 after Michael Aziaya somewhat clumsily conceded a penalty.
Davide Rodari pulled one back for Hastings shortly before half time with his third goal in two matches. The 18-year-old, who seems to be improving all the time, chased a long ball and dispossessed a Molesey defender before finishing superbly.
Hastings made a reasonable start to the second period before falling 3-1 behind. Poor defending and slack marking, with the wide midfielders not helping out the defence, led to Ross Chalke restoring Molesey’s two-goal cushion.
The visitors really took the game to Molesey thereafter and reduced their deficit to 3-2 when Dean Bown, on for Rodari, went through the middle and finished splendidly at the end of a very good move. It was Bown’s first Hastings goal in his second appearance.
Hastings continued to press and duly got back on level terms. Another fine move, with Carey very much to the fore, culminated with a ball across the six yard box being turned in by Pogue, playing his first game since rejoining the club from Hythe Town.
At that stage the momentum was firmly with Hastings and it seemed as though there was only going to be one winner. But it was Molesey who grabbed the decisive goal soon after Hastings equalised.
Molesey broke away and Hastings made a sloppy error down the side of their defence, allowing the ball to be crossed in and Chalke to score his second.
Hastings did come again and carved out one or two opportunities to make it 4-4, but it wasn’t quite to be. Sam Adams and Pogue both did well for Hastings, while Bown looked useful after coming off the bench.
Hastings are 16th in the table with eight points from as many outings. Their next match is away to Walton Casuals on Saturday September 30.
Hastings: Horlock, Aziaya (Akoto), Beale, Carey, Climpson, Rowe, Cruttwell, Dixon, Rodari (Bown), Pogue, Adams. Subs not used: Black, Janneh, Dullaway. Attendance: 75.