Hastings United’s footballers scored an added time goal this afternoon (Saturday) to salvage what could turn out to be a vital point.
Tyrell Richardson-Brown netted a 91st minute header to earn the U’s a deserved 1-1 draw away to a Tooting & Mitcham United side which played nearly 80 minutes with 10 men.
United remain 20th in Ryman Football League Division One South and are a point above the three relegation places, although two of the three teams immediately beneath them have games in hand.
U’s boss Nigel Kane made four changes to the starting line-up from last weekend’s defeat to Horsham. Matt Caley made his first start, Sam Cruttwell and Fraser Logan came back in following injury, and Marlon Patterson started after joining from Cray Wanderers.
Mid-table Tooting had a great chance to take an early lead only for away goalkeeper Josh Pelling to block a Dan Summers shot after United failed to clear a free kick.
The hosts were reduced to 10 men in just the 12th minute. United midfielder Olalekan Bankole was scythed down by David Graves just outside the penalty area and the Tooting captain was given his marching orders.
Tooting goalkeeper Alex Kozakis did well to block a Steve Brinkhurst shot, while Cruttwell miskicked with the goal at his mercy from Ade Olorunda’s ball across goal. Cruttwell and Olorunda then combined to give Patterson a glorious chance for a debut goal, but Kozakis pulled off a fine save.
Despite these United openings, it was Tooting who opened the scoring in the 39th minute. Away full-back Luke Turner needlessly fouled Nathan Gordon in the box and Summers tucked away the ensuing penalty.
Tooting made their third and final substitution at half time, and Sol Pinnock fired just over from 20 yards soon after the restart. Pelling then repelled a Stefan Cox shot at his near post following a mistake by Turner.
Sean Ray headed over at the other end before his centre-back partner Caley was stretchered off. United were stuggling to convert possession into clearcut chances, although Olorunda headed wide with one effort and had another well-saved.
United had a penalty appeal for handball turned down and it looked as though Tooting would hold on until Richardson-Brown met Richard Rose’s cross with a looping header to level the scores.
It was only United’s second goal in six matches and the game ended 10-a-side after Rose was shown a second yellow card for a foul with a couple of minutes remaining.
United: Pelling, Rose, Turner (Richardson-Brown), Bankole, Ray, Caley (T. Olorunda), Brinkhurst, Cruttwell (Maclean), A. Olorunda, Logan, Patterson. Subs not used: Foster, Gallagher.