Hastings United’s footballers suffered a fifth consecutive defeat this afternoon (Saturday).
The U’s clawed back a 2-0 half time deficit only to concede a winner shortly afterwards as they went down 3-2 away to Three Bridges in Ryman Football League Division One South.
Nigel Kane took caretaker charge of the United side for the third game running and Sam Adams took over the captain’s armband following the departure of Frankie Sawyer.
John Lansdale fired a 25-yard drive just over for a Bridges side containing ex-United duo Matt Whitehead and Jamie Crellin, while at the other end, Ade Olorunda couldn’t quite get on the end of Jahmahl King’s volley across goal from a corner.
United goalkeeper Josh Pelling saved from Allan Tait and Tony Garrod before Bridges took a 21st minute lead. Aby Touray’s corner to the near post was glanced into his own net by Tim Olorunda.
One soon became two at a wet Jubilee Field in Crawley as Touray latched onto a Williams Peauroux pass and lifted his finish nicely over Pelling.
Taser Hassan had a decent chance to pull one back only to shoot well off target following a Dave Cook pass and Bridges goalkeeper Kieron Thorp was equal to an Olalekan Bankole shot which bounced up in front of him.
A Lansdale piledriver grazed the crossbar before Pelling twice denied Tait, firstly after the Bridges man was put through by Hakeem Adelakumi and secondly after Garrod got his head to Adelakumi’s corner.
Sam Cruttwell came on for Cook at half time and United were much better in the second period. Ade Olorunda (twice) and Bankole called Thorp into action prior to the former hitting the post having latched on to a Dolan pass and held off Lansdale.
Ade Olorunda was thwarted by a Whitehead block before United pulled one back in the 72nd minute. Adams went through, rounded Thorp and rolled the ball home despite Mark Pulling almost getting back to clear off the line.
Adams couldn’t direct his shot on target while stretching to get on the end of a Cruttwell cross, but United deservedly equalised in the 78th minute when Bankole headed in Hassan’s centre.
The visitors were level for just three minutes, however, because Sam MacVicar met Lansdale’s long free kick with a towering header to put Bridges back in front.
United still could have rescued a point. Thorp pulled off a super stop to repel Ade Olorunda’s header from a Hassan cross and substitute Kenny Pogue couldn’t quite force home Dolan’s centre.
The result leaves United fourth-from-bottom of the table with only 12 points from 13 games. The U’s are already 24 points behind leaders Burgess Hill Town and 12 adrift of the play-off places.
United: Pelling, Adams, Rose, T. Olorunda, Ray, King, Cook, Bankole, A. Olorunda, Dolan, Hassan. Subs: Pogue, Cruttwell, Burton, Hall, Temba.