Hastings hit back to claim point
Ollie Rowe grabbed his third goal in six games to secure a precious 1-1 draw in a Ryman Premier relegation battle away to Horsham.
The right back’s priceless knack of getting on the scoresheet continued when he headed home a second half equaliser at Gorings Mead.
Hastings might have gone on to claim all three points against opposition which finished the match with only 10 men following the sending-off of captain Ben Andrews.
The draw keeps Hastings five points clear of the relegation zone and a point below Horsham. Elsewhere, Croydon Athletic won 3-1 at home to Cray Wanderers, Aveley lost 2-1 against bottom-of-the-table Maidstone United and Folkestone Invicta went down 2-1 at the hands of Hendon.
Hastings struggled to get going on a hard and lumpy playing surface and were somewhat fortunate to be only 1-0 down at half time. The closest the visitors came to a getting a goal was a Russell Eldridge free kick which sailed over the crossbar.
Horsham took the lead on 11 minutes when Jamie Cade flicked on a long ball for fellow former Hastings player Ashley-Paul Robinson who lifted his finish beyond the advancing Seb Barton.
Not long after the muscular Robinson broke clear on goal for a second time only for the referee to blow for a foul on Josh Jirbandey.
Paul Kennett almost made it two just before half time but his header was well saved by Barton.
Hastings swapped their 4-5-1 formation to 4-4-2 for the second half with Kenny Pogue coming on in place of Tim Olorunda.
Pogue’s presence as a second striker seemed to suit the conditions and the visitors began to look the more dominant side. Within eight minutes of coming on the substitute should have done better from Matt Hall’s pass but his attempted chip lacked the power to clear keeper Mark Zawadski.
Horsham were reduced to 10 men on 66 minutes when Andrews talked himself into an early bath after escaping with only a yellow card for handball which had denied George Porter a run on goal.
Less than 10 minutes later Hastings were on level terms, Ross Sutton’s cross from the left picking out the unmarked Rowe whose downward header gave Zawadski no chance.
Harry Beautyman and new signing Arron Hopkinson both had half chances before Pogue failed to get a proper connection to an inviting cross at the far post.
Hastings (4-5-1): Barton; Rowe, Ray, Jirbandey, Storrie (Sutton 25); Adams (Hopkinson 69), Olorunda (Pogue 46), Beautyman, Hall, Eldridge; Porter. Subs not used: Manning, Chalmers-Stevens.
Referee: O. Jackson. Attendance: 251.
Ryman Premier bottom six (played-points): Horsham 36-34, HASTINGS Utd 36-33, Croydon Athletic 35-28, Aveley 34-27, Folkestone Invicta 34-26, Maidstone Utd 36-25.