Hastings United Football Club climbed into the top half of the table following a come-from-behind victory this afternoon (Saturday).
Chris Agutter’s side overturned a half time deficit to win 2-1 at home to Whyteleafe and move up to 11th at the midway stage of its Bostik League Division One South programme.
Hastings made two changes to the starting line-up from the previous weekend’s draw at Hythe Town. Adam Lovatt and Davide Rodari returned, with captain Sam Adams and Kenny Pogue dropping to the substitutes’ bench.
New signing Antonio Walker was also among the replacements and Sam Cruttwell wore the captain’s armband for an extremely youthful Hastings side in a match which went ahead after the pitch passed a morning inspection.
On a bright but cold afternoon at The Pilot Field, the opening half-an-hour produced little goalmouth incident other than Hastings goalkeeper Charlie Horlock making a smothering save at the feet of Lanre Azeez.
The game suddenly sprung to life just after the 35-minute mark with a couple of openings at either end. After Ollie Rowe’s header from a Sam Cruttwell cross went just behind Calum Davies, Whyteleafe went straight down the other end and Horlock saved from Azees at point blank range.
Dayshonne Golding couldn’t direct his shot on target at full stretch after a neat one-two with Davies. Moments later at the other end, a Tommy Hutchings shot from just outside the area was well held by Horlock low to his right.
Whyteleafe took the lead in the 45th minute. A Josh Adusei header from Sam Clayton’s left wing corner was well stopped by Horlock, but Hutchings stabbed home the rebound from close range.
Hastings saw a lot of the ball after half time as Whyteleafe seemed content to protect their lead. They might have doubled their advantage had John Scarborough not headed straight at Horlock, just before Walker was thwarted by away goalkeeper Kyle Merson as he tried to round him.
Hastings were whiskers away from an equaliser on the hour. Ansu Janneh turned Adusei on the home left and drove into the box. His cut-back towards Davies came back to Janneh, whose shot from point blank range was saved by Merson.
The home side did level things up in the 62nd minute. This time Golding got to the byeline on the left before delivering a low ball across goal which was turned against the inside of the post and just across the line by a sliding Whyteleafe defender.
Hastings completed the turnaround with a second goal 14 minutes later. Sam Beale’s ball forward flicked off a Whyteleafe head and Davies got goalside of Whyteleafe defender Callum Adonis-Taylor, who bundled him over inside the box.
Adonis-Taylor was shown a straight red card and Golding emphatically buried the resulting penalty into the top corner, sending Merson the wrong way.
Jack Dixon flashed a shot from outside the area just wide after a great run by Walker and Hastings on the whole had few alarms seeing the game out, although they were indebted to a brilliant save by Horlock from Hutchings in the third minute of added time.
Hastings: Horlock, Pritchard, Beale, Lovatt, Rowe, Climpson, Rodari (Walker HT (Adams 89)), Cruttwell, Davies, Janneh, Golding (Dixon 81). Subs not used: Rodrigues-Barbosa, Pogue. Attendance: 282.