After two recent cup defeats, Hastings United took out some of their frustration on a spirited East Grinstead side in their Velocity Sports Trophy group game which finished in a remarkable 12-3 scoreline.
United overwhelmed the visitors with a display full of attacking intent, typified by Rodari’s excellent eight (8) goal performance.
Whilst United were seeking a fourth straight victory in the group stages, East Grinstead’s fate was already sealed having won only one of the four previous group games. As only the group winners progress to the knockout stage it was not surprising for United to start on the offensive.
On twelve minutes, Sam Adams created a first chance for Rodari. Although his shot was blocked it was the most short-lived of reprieves. Ollie Black’s long throw into the area fell to Rodari at the back post who hammered home to open the scoring.
Minutes later East Grinstead hit the inside of the post after a loose pass, a let off for United immediately capitalised upon. Craig Stone’s clipped ball over the top freed Rodari to hit his second. A hattrick inside thirty minutes followed after an East Grinstead free-kick on half-way was inadvertently passed straight to Rodari who sprinted toward the area before cutting inside and finishing expertly.
Three goals to the good and United’s defence had a couple of minutes to forget. Stone gave the ball away to Cravid who pulled one back from the edge of the area. Immediately followed by a cross into the area not dealt with which Cravid slid home to reduce the deficit to 3 – 2. This prompted a response from United. Tom Chalmers rifled in from the edge of the area before Stone won ‘cross of the month’ for his whipped accurate ball onto Rodari’s head to make it 5 – 2.
Half-time: Hastings United 5 – 2 East Grinstead
Only twelve seconds into the second half, Kenny Pogue scored a sixth after Rodari cleverly flicked the ball into this path. Minutes later Sam Adams started and finished United’s seventh. Adams passed a ball onto the right wing and ran onto the pull-back to hammer into the top corner for 7 – 2.
After another defensive lapse, East Grinstead pulled a goal back. In all fairness and credit to them, the visitors did not give in throughout the game.
Stone and Rodari combined again, a precision through ball which Rodari finished with another clinical strike for 8 – 3. United continued with their free-flowing football. Adam Lovatt ran from halfway past a number of players before feeding Pogue who fired into the bottom corner for his second of the night.
Not content United pressed forward. Adams won another challenge in midfield giving Jack Dixon the opportunity to shoot, pushed out by the keeper but finished again by Rodari for his sixth and United’s tenth. Ryan Worrall created number eleven, a breakaway down the left and a superb cross-field pass inside two defenders into Rodari’s path who didn’t need to break stride to score his seventh.
In the last minute Rodari broke forward again, rounded the keeper and hit his eighth.
Full-time: Hastings United 12 – 3 East Grinstead
Man of the match: Davide Rodari with a clinical centre-forward display. Speed of movement exemplary throughout and finishing of the highest level. A record eight goals for United’s number 7.
Hastings United: Rogers, Black, Hull (45’ Lovatt) Greig (55’ Clark), Stone, Rodari, Adams, Pogue, Chalmers, Worrall, Pool (Unused subs: Elliott, Curran, Dixon)
East Grinstead: Bellingham, Agun, Djemaili, Barclay, Lall, Lewis, McGee, Janneh, Lodge-Francis, Phillips, Carvalho-Cravid (Unused subs: Blake, Boylan, Deen, Cleevely, Williams)
Next game: Away in the league to Guernsey on Saturday 30th November.