Hastings United’s footballers had to settle for a point at home to bottom-of-the-table opposition this afternoon (Saturday).
Ade Olorunda came off the substitutes’ bench to score an 84th minute equaliser in the 2-2 draw against Walton Casuals, but was then sent-off after the final whistle along with an opponent.
Walton made a bright start to the Ryman Football League Division One South fixture on a grey afternoon at The Pilot Field, but away goalkeeper Francisco Ramos was forced into the first save, from a header by his own team-mate Akin Abiola-Daramola.
United full-back Adam Hunt provided the cross for that close call and shortly afterwards delivered another centre which was headed against the far post by Joe Shelley with Evan Archibald just unable to get on the end of the rebound.
The home side went close again when Walton scrambled the ball off the line after good work from Archibald, while at the other end, United goalkeeper Josh Pelling pushed aside a firm drive by Luke Medley at his near post.
United capped a decent spell by opening the scoring in the 27th minute. Sam Adams exchanged passes with Archibald and did well to work space inside the box to bury his shot into the bottom corner.
Walton carried a threat going forward, though, and equalised nine minutes later. Billy Dunn stepped inside United centre-half Marc Pullan on the away left and placed a low shot into the far corner.
Into the second half and Pelling made a good save with his legs to deny Medley following a nice throughball by Jordan Johnson. But it was only a temporary reprieve because Walton went 2-1 up in the 55th minute when the impressive Dunn cut in from the left and unleashed a great strike into the corner of the net from five yards outside the box.
United struggled to muster a response and Walton looked comfortable as they stroked the ball around in a fashion which belied their lowly status.
But Olorunda did make a difference after he was introduced and it was he who volleyed home a cross from fellow substitute Arron Hopkinson to make it 2-2. Hopkinson has rejoined the club from Bognor Regis Town after a three-year absence.
Adams went close with an effort from outside the box and then had a low left-foot shot saved after bursting into the area. Pelling parried a 25-yard shot by Liam Collins as honours ended even.
Tempers frayed after the final whistle as Olorunda and Walton player Merrick James-Lewis saw red for their involvement in a melee between the two sets of players.
United: Pelling, Hunt, Rose, T. Olorunda (Keehan 56), Pullan, Farmer, Shelley, Adams, Archibald, Hassan (A. Olorunda 73), Boswell (Hopkinson 56). Subs not used: Pogue, Cruttwell. Attendance: 334.