Hastings United Football Club’s fine run in the Emirates FA Cup came to an end this afternoon (Saturday).
Bostik League South East Division high-flyers Hastings lost 2-0 away to Evo-Stik League South Premier Central side Hitchin Town in third round qualifying.
Hastings had knocked out higher level opponents in the previous two rounds and would’ve travelled to Hertfordshire optimistic of repeating their victory at the same ground at the corresponding stage in 2012/13.
But it was a day when nothing really went right for Chris Agutter’s side and Hitchin went through to fourth round qualifying - one stage before the League One and Two clubs enter the competition - thanks to a goal in either half.
See also: * Happy memories as Hastings seek to continue FA Cup run
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Hastings started well enough in heavy rain and fashioned two great chances while the tie was still goalless. Had either of them gone in, things may have turned out differently.
The visitors fell behind in the 25th minute when a Hitchin corner was headed home by Lewis Ferrell.
Hastings came back at their hosts and were trying to find a way through, but despite enjoying plenty of possession and putting in a lot of hard work, it just wasn’t happening for them.
Their task became that much harder less than five minutes into the second half. Jamie Fielding conceded a penalty, which Josh Bickerstaff tucked away to double Hitchin’s advantage.
Hitchin seemed fairly content to sit back and clear their lines thereafter. Sam Cruttwell came off the bench and added a different dimension to Hastings’ play, although none of his several attempts at goal were successful as Hitchin managed to see the game out.
Hastings were cheered on by around 100 travelling supporters, who made a lot of noise throughout the game and whose backing was much appreciated by the club.
Hastings: Horlock, Fielding, Howlett-Mundle, Climpson, Mensah, Dixon (Ogboe 73), Adams, Ibrahim (Lovatt 51), Golding, Vickers (Cruttwell 57), Ajakaiye. Subs not used: Christie, Walker, Taylor, Makwiramiti.