Early double sends Hastings to defeat

Hastings United lost 2-0 away to Sittingbourne this afternoon.
Hastings United lost 2-0 away to Sittingbourne this afternoon.

Another nightmare start was to blame as Hastings United Football Club suffered a second successive defeat this afternoon (Saturday).

Chris Agutter’s side conceded twice in the first six minutes to lose 2-0 away to Sittingbourne in Bostik League Division One South.

Hastings dropped three places to 12th in the table as a result, with Sittingbourne now a point and two positions above them.

Agutter made three changes to his starting line-up from the previous weekend’s 5-2 reverse at home to Greenwich Borough. Sam Adams, Sam Beale and Adam Lovatt came back in, with Jamie Fielding and Daniel Ajakaiye on the bench, and Bradley Pritchard not involved.

Sittingbourne opened the scoring in the third minute. Ansu Janneh lost possession near the touchline in his own half and Sittingbourne passed the ball up to number nine Kane Rowland, who shook off seemingly all the Hastings defenders and slotted under goalkeeper Charlie Horlock.

The second goal came about in very similar fashion just three minutes later. Sittingbourne had the ball on halfway and threaded it through to Rowland, who had defenders all around him but none could prevent him sliding the ball under Horlock.

Hastings controlled the possession for the remainder of the first half and passed the ball nicelu, but home goalkeeper Harry Brooks had very little to do. Adams sent a free kick over the crossbar and Ollie Rowe also saw an effort sail too high.

Hastings did lots of attacking in the second half, yet for a while continued to struggle to carve out opportunities.

Ben Davisson had a great chance to put Sittingbourne three-up, but headed wide of the target at the far post. The Brickies then hit the postwith a cross following a short corner.

Hastings then had a strong 10-minute spell either side of the midway point in the second half, during which they fashioned four good chances to get back into the game.

Davide Rodari headed straight at Brooks from a corner, and Brooks then parried a Rodari shot to safety and thwarted Tom Climpson from point blank range. Rodari fired wide from inside the box.

With Hastings still two-down, it looked like the game was fizzling out from around the 80-minute mark onwards.

They then won a penalty in the 87th minute, but Brooks guessed right and pulled off a great save from Rodari’s spot-kick and that was the end of the visitors’ hopes.

Adams was like a powerhouse in midfield during the second half and distributed the ball well, while Rodari battled hard throughout, but it was the first time Hastings have been beaten in successive league fixtures since the second half of October.

Hastings: Horlock, Rowe, Beale, Lovatt, Climpson (Pogue), Cruttwell, Rodari, Adams, Davies (Kieran), Janneh (Dixon), Golding. Subs not used: Fielding, Ajakaiye.

Bostik League Division One South top half (played-points): 1 Lewes 29-63, 2 Cray Wanderers 29-62, 3 Greenwich Borough 30-58, 4 Carshalton Athletic 29-58, 5 Corinthian-Casuals 30-57, 6 Walton Casuals 30-56, 7 Phoenix Sports 30-50, 8 Hythe Town 29-46, 9 South Park 25-42, 10 Sittingbourne 29-42, 11 Horsham 30-42, 12 HASTINGS UNITED 29-41.