Hastings chalk up 20th league win

Hastings United defender Ollie Rowe scored his seventh goal of the season to seal the 2-0 win at home to South Park. Picture courtesy Scott White
Hastings United defender Ollie Rowe scored his seventh goal of the season to seal the 2-0 win at home to South Park. Picture courtesy Scott White

Hastings United Football Club recorded its 20th league win of the season tonight (Tuesday).

A goal in either half from Davide Rodari and Ollie Rowe gave Chris Agutter’s side a 2-0 victory at home to South Park in Bostik League Division One South.

Hastings fielded the same starting line-up as that which performed so impressively in Saturday’s 2-2 draw at Greenwich Borough, and they dominated possession and territory during the opening 20 minutes or so.

Sam Adams had a couple of attempts early on before Hastings fashioned the game’s first real chance in the 19th minute. South Park goalkeeper Thomas Miles got a foot to Rodari’s shot following Rowe’s throughball and the ball ricocheted up onto the crossbar.

South Park came far more into the game during the second quarter and Thomas Windsor had their first attempt of note with a low drive from outside the area which went narrowly wide.

Hastings then needed a brilliant goal-line clearance from Rowe after Jack Mazzone dinked the ball over goalkeeper Charlie Horlock to remain on level terms. Seconds later, James McElligott’s deflected strike was well saved by Horlock.

Mazzone’s shot from distance forced Horlock into a scrambling save before Hastings broke the deadlock in the 44th minute. Rodari forced a mistake out of a South Park defender and his well-struck left-foot shot found the net for his 17th goal of the season despite Miles getting a leg to it.

Early in the second half Horlock raced off his line to effect a perfectly-timed sliding challenge on a clean through Kieran Lavery outside his area.

At the other end, Sonny Dullaway skewed his shot wide from an inviting position inside the box after a great run and cutback from Rodari. Dayshonne Golding, a half time replacement for the injured Adam Lovatt, then had an angled shot saved following Adams’s quick free kick.

Hastings doubled their advantage in the 62nd minute. Jack Dixon’s cross from the left following a short corner was headed against the crossbar by Adams and Rowe cleverly nodded the rebound over the defender on the line.

Hastings would’ve liked it to be far more comfortable than it was thereafter, though, as a South Park side playing its 10th game in 25 days showed admirable fight and was unfortunate not to get on the scoresheet.

Dylan Merchant sliced wide after Horlock miscued a punch at a corner and substitute Chris Smith’s volley while at full stretch struck the top of the crossbar. Lavery also forced Horlock into a good save diving to his right with a free kick from just outside the area.

Hastings had their moments at the other end too. Rodari headed just wide from Dixon’s free kick, Golding pulled his shot wide from eight yards after Rowe’s low cross made its way through to him and Sam Beale’s shot was saved following Dixon’s clever throughball.

Hastings: Horlock, Rowe, Beale, Lovatt (Golding HT), Christie, Cruttwell, Rodari, Dixon, Adams, Dullaway (Janneh 69), Walker. Subs not used: Climpson, Fielding, Pritchard. Attendance: 222.

Bostik League Division One South top half (played 45 matches unless stated): 1 Carshalton Athletic 99pts, 2 Lewes 98, 3 Greenwich Borough 87, 4 Cray Wanderers 86, 5 Corinthian-Casuals 86, 6 Hythe Town 85, 7 Walton Casuals 83, 8 HASTINGS UNITED 73, 9 Thamesmead Town 69, 10 Whyteleafe (44) 67, 11 Phoenix Sports 66, 12 Herne Bay 65.

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