Hastings United's footballers missed out on a third straight victory in agonising fashion this afternoon (Saturday).
United conceded a 94th minute equaliser as they were held to a 1-1 draw away to Horsham in Ryman Football League Division One South.
The result means United remain 11th in the table and they are seven points behind Corinthian-Casuals, who occupy the final play-off spot of fifth, with three games in hand.
Tom Climpson started at right-back and Sam Cruttwell at centre-half in a United defence missing Stephen Butcher, Sam Cole, Richard Davies and Steve Watt through injury. Ryan Nicholls was a late replacement in goal for Lenny Pidgeley, who pulled out in the warm-up with a rib injury, and performed very commendably.
Harry Stannard rattled Horsham's crossbar in the opening 30 seconds following a Frannie Collin corner. United went close again a few minutes later as Collin, Stannard and Kiernan Hughes-Mason all had attempts, and Barry Cogan was then brought down in the box. No penalty was given, but Cogan went off injured shortly afterwards.
Horsham headed over at a corner, but it was United who opened the scoring in the 19th minute. Stannard's cross at the end of a neat United move was turned into his own net by Horsham defender Lewis Hyde.
United, though, failed to reproduce the form of their impressive victories against Chatham Town and Greenwich Borough over the past week, and Horsham had the better of things thereafter.
In the second half, Hughes-Mason ran three-quarters of the length of the pitch, beating several players along the way, but failed to get a shot off. Ollie Rowe headed against the crossbar from a Cruttwell corner and Stannard saw a shot well saved.
But a hard-working Horsham side, managed by former United boss Dom Di Paola and with ex-United goalkeeper Josh Pelling between the posts, looked good going forward and rescued a deserved point right at the death.
An indirect free kick was touched to the side for Darren Boswell, who had a brief spell at United two years ago, to score with a driven shot from 20 yards which Nicholls got a hand to low to his right but couldn't keep out.
United: Nicholls, Climpson, Thorbourne, Cruttwell, Rowe, Stannard (Ellis 82), Bodkin, Johnson, Hughes-Mason, Collin, Cogan (Harris 15). Sub not used: Pritchard. Attendance: 255.
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