Hastings United Football Club’s run without a league victory extended to six matches this afternoon (Saturday).
The U’s began the second half of their Ryman Football League Division One South programme with a 2-1 defeat away to Chipstead despite leading at half time.
Although Chipstead made the brighter start, the first action of note took place in and around the hosts’ penalty box. A free kick by Sam Adams - which the referee awarded instead of playing the advantage when Taser Hassan was through on goal - was turned home by Charlie Farmer only for the offside flag to go up.
Richard Rose’s timely challenge after Sean Ray’s attempted clearance was blocked snuffed out Chipstead’s best opening of the first 35 minutes before United took a 42nd minute lead.
After Steve Brinkhurst and Evan Archibald combined on the right, Adams retrieved an overhit cross and delivered for Hassan to score his second goal in as many games with a powerful header.
United defended stoutly during a first half of few chances, but Chipstead were back on level terms less than three minutes into the second period as left-back Steve Betancourt lashed a tremendous 25-yard drive past Josh Pelling in the away goal.
The visitors had a great chance to restore their advantage shortly afterwards. Archibald was sent clear by Ray’s header, but Chipstead goalkeeper Milan Stojsavlevic produced a fine save.
After Pelling repelled an angled effort from Derek Tieku and then gathered a Josh Gallagher volley, Stojsavlevic again thwarted Archibald with a fingertip stop from a looping header.
Chipstead completed the turnaround with what turned out to be the winner in the 71st minute. Simon Mensah cut out a pass from United substitute Arron Hopkinson and teed up Will Turl for a straight-forward finish.
Gallagher sliced wide when invitingly placed to extend Chipstead’s advantage. At the other end, Shaun Preddie produced an important tackle on Adams and Stojsavlevic clutched an Archibald header as Chipstead held on to become the first team to do the double over United this season.
United: Pelling, Rose, Brinkhurst, T. Olorunda (Pogue), Ray, Farmer, Keehan, Adams, Archibald, Woodley (Hopkinson), Hassan. Subs not used: Pullan, Vickers, S. Cruttwell.
Standings (played-points): 1 Merstham 26-51, 2 Burgess Hill Town 20-50, 3 Faversham Town 24-50, 4 Folkestone Invicta 23-46, 5 Whyteleafe 24-41, 6 Herne Bay 26-37, 7 Tooting & Mitcham United 24-36, 8 Worthing 24-36, 9 South Park 22-36, 10 Chipstead 24-36, 11 Sittingbourne 26-35, 12 Whitstable Town 25-32, 13 Walton & Hersham 24-32, 14 Corinthian-Casuals 24-31, 15 Carshalton Athletic 25-30, 16 Three Bridges 23-29, 17 Guernsey 25-28, 18 Hythe Town 25-25, 19 HASTINGS UNITED 24-25, 20 Ramsgate 23-24, 21 East Grinstead Town 25-24, 22 Redhill 21-22, 23 Walton Casuals 21-16, 24 Horsham 20-16.