Hastings United went top of the league courtesy of a 3-0 derby victory at home to Eastbourne Town this afternoon (Saturday).
A goal in the first five minutes from Trevor McCreadie, and two strikes in quick succession early in the second half by Kenny Pogue and McCreadie put United top of Ryman Football League Division One South on goal difference.
McCreadie was quick to make an impact on his league debut, applying an emphatic first time finish to an inviting left wing cross by Vickers. The excellent Vickers then flashed a long range drive just over and Bailo Camara couldn’t quite direct a close range header on target from Josh Hare’s cross.
Andrew Mensah saw a deflected effort held by Josh Pelling to his left and a great run by Ross Sutton ended with a low shot going just wide as bottom-of-the-table Town started to get a foothold in the game.
A low drive by Vickers was gathered by Town goalkeeper James Broadbent at the second attempt, while Rocky Baptiste wasn’t far away at the other end as United looked fairly comfortable but certainly not dominant during the remainder of the first half.
They were dominant, however, during an impressive second period. McCreadie fired just over within 80 seconds of the restart, Vickers went just wide from distance and sent another effort straight at the goalkeeper, and Kenny Pogue’s header from a Camara cross was held by Broadbent.
United doubled their advantage in the 57th minute. A good move ended with full-back Tom Gilbert being brought down by Broadbent near the byeline in the left-hand corner of the box and Pogue slammed home the resulting penalty.
Two minutes later and it was 3-0 as Pogue played a great ball across the face of goal to present strike partner McCreadie with a simple finish. With the result in the bag, it was a surprise United didn’t add to their tally during the final half-hour.
Vickers sent a rasping drive just wide and a fine effort from distance by Ronnie Dolan was well saved by the backpeddling Broadbent. A Camara shot was beaten out by Broadbent and Dolan blazed the rebound over, while McCreadie was denied his hat-trick by an offside flag after another Camara effort was parried.
A decent strike by Dolan was tipped over by Broadbent, who then repelled Pogue’s close range header. Town had probably their best chance of the match in added time, but Mensah headed just over from a right wing corner.
United: Pelling, Hare, Gilbert, Olorunda (Darby 61), Judge, Kelly, Vickers (Ellis 75), Dolan, McCreadie, Pogue, Camara (Woodley 83). Subs not used: Pacheco, Slocombe. Attendance: 428.
Top six standings (played-points): 1 HASTINGS UNITED 17-37, 2 Walton Casuals 19-37, 3 Leatherhead 18-36, 4 Peacehaven & Telscombe 18-36, 5 Worthing 20-30, 6 Guernsey 17-29.
More to follow.