Hastings United cruised through to round three of the Ryman Football League’s Robert Dyas Cup tonight (Monday).
Two goals in either half gave United a resounding 4-0 victory at home to fellow Division One South side Faversham Town, making it five wins and a draw in their last six matches.
With the likes of Ben Judge, Charlie Slocombe, Jono Richardson, Matt Darby, Tim Olorunda, Danny Ellis and Sam Adams given the night off, it was a chance for some of the fringe players and youngsters to show that they can do.
And Tom O’Connor, in particular, did his chances no harm whatsoever. The ballplaying midfielder opened the scoring in only the seventh minute with a cracking drive from the edge of the box into the top corner after captain-for-the-night Sean Kelly had attacked a Tom Gilbert free kick.
Michael Aladetoun was denied by a point blank smothering save after good work from Kenny Pogue and 16-year-old Sam Cruttwell. O’Connor then put Pogue through on goal and although his shot was saved, Jordan Woodley converted the rebound to give United a two-goal lead inside 14 minutes.
United had two let-offs in quick succession just after the 35-minute mark. They firstly survived a penalty appeal when Liam Stone went down under the challenge of United full-back Andy Corrigan and moments later Aaron Lacey’s long throw was glanced against the far post by David Botterill.
At the other end, Aladetoun’s snap-shot from nine yards was saved by the feet of Faversham goalkeeper Simon Overland, who also repelled Woodley’s free kick diving to his right. Aladetoun had the ball in the net at the far post from the resulting corner only for the referee to spot an infringement.
Into the second half and Pogue had a weak effort saved following a lovely ball from Woodley and Matt Maclean’s goalbound shot beat Overland, but not a covering defender. Woodley shot just wide of the near post before Pogue made it 3-0 in the 52nd minute with a low left-foot finish across Overland.
Maclean fired narrowly wide from outside the box and United added a fourth goal in the 57th minute. O’Connor played another defence-splitting pass for Akwasi Fobi-Edusei to run through and slot past Overland within three minutes of coming off the substitutes’ bench.
Faversham, who beat United 2-0 in a league game last month, might have grabbed a consolation as the game petered out, but Pelling made a good save low to his left from substitute Brendan Cass before producing another fine stop in added time from the same player, this time with his legs.
United: Pelling, Gilbert, Corrigan, O’Connor, Hare, Kelly (Crisford 61), Maclean, Woodley, Pogue (Fobi-Edusei 54), Aladetoun (Peyer 73), Cruttwell. Subs not used: Winter, Dicken. Attendance: 241.