Hastings United Football Club’s bid to return to winning ways on Saturday was unsuccessful.
Chris Agutter’s side lost 1-0 away to in-form Whyteleafe in Bostik Football League Division One South.
Both sides contributed to an entertaining encounter which could well have ended as a high scoring draw. As it was, the U’s conceded all three points due to an individual error midway through the second half.
Agutter was forced to make changes following Calum Davies’s decision to return to his former club, Leatherhead, the night before.
Dayshonne Golding played more as a central attacker rather than his usual wide role, with Antonio Walker coming into the starting line-up.
There were chances at both ends as both sides went looking for the win. Hastings goalkeeper Charlie Gorlock did well to block Vance Bola’s effort with his legs on 10 minutes, while at the other end, a cross from Golding was saved by home stopper Kyle Merson at the near post.
Leafe’s Tom Pearson was proving a handful down Hastings’ right-hand side with his pace and he came close to opening the scoring on 21 minutes but failed to find the target.
Davide Rodari, who had another encouraging performance, fired wide after escaping the home defence and minutes later the same player saw a decent effort fly inches wide of the far post.
For Whyteleafe, Scott Day found himself in space following a quick counter-attack, but he also fired wide.
Play continued to swing from end to end, with Sam Adams heading off the line from a home corner and Jack Dixon seeing his shot deflected for a corner at the other end.
The second half followed much the same pattern. Just two minutes after the restart, Sam Cruttwell went on a mazy run before firing wide and then Horlock pulled off another great save at the expense of a corner, Hassan Ibrahim being the man in the clear.
A Cruttwell free kick was palmed over the crossbar by Merson, but a few minutes later Leafe broke the deadlock. Tom Climpson saw his under-hit back pass to Horlock intercepted by Bola, who rounded the stranded goalkeeper before firing into the empty net.
Hastings never gave up the fight and went looking for the equaliser. Adams saw his free kick saved and the home goal came under heavy pressure in the closing stages as United piled men forward.
But it was not enough and Horlock made another great save in added time when Bola raced clear down the middle.
A draw would probably have been a fair result, but United’s lack of bite in front of goal is costing them dear at the moment.
Hastings: Horlock, Rowe, Beale, Cruttwell, Christie, Climpson (Lovatt 67), Rodari, Adams, Walker (Harley 74), Dixon (Janneh 78), Golding. Subs not used: Pritchard, Taggart. Attendance: 168.
Bostik League Division One South top half (played-points): 1 Lewes 36-80, 2 Corinthian-Casuals 37-75, 3 Carshalton Athletic 35-74, 4 Greenwich Borough 37-73, 5 Cray Wanderers 37-69, 6 Walton Casuals 36-67, 7 Hythe Town 37-63, 8 Whyteleafe 37-62, 9 Phoenix Sports 37-54, 10 HASTINGS UNITED 37-53, 11 Thamesmead Town 36-49, 12 Horsham 36-49.
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