Hastings United’s footballers suffered a third consecutive home league defeat tonight (Tuesday).
The U’s were beaten 3-1 at home to Worthing as their up and down start to the Ryman Football League Division One South campaign continued.
Two goals in the first 12 minutes of the second half put Worthing in charge and although Billy Medlock got one back, the visitors killed the game off with a third goal right at the end.
Even without the injured Zac Attwood and Jack Walder, there would have been plenty of optimism in the United camp at kick-off following their excellent comeback win away to previously undefeated Dorking Wanderers on Saturday.
On a pitch which had absorbed all the rain of the preceding 24 hours remarkably well, United had the better of the first half without managing to make the all-important breakthrough.
Medlock fired into the far bottom corner in the fifth minute, but the offside flag was already up. Sean Ray headed narrowly off target from a Sam Adams corner and Medlock shot just wide of the near post having cut inside his man.
Worthing goalkeeper Rikki Banks then pulled off a superb save to keep out Ollie Rowe’s header from an Adams free kick and one wonders how differently things might have turned out had he not done so.
The visitors’ best moment of the first half was a well-struck shot from distance by Lloyd Dawes, which was parried by Josh Pelling in the United goal.
Dawes, however, put Worthing ahead with a stunning goal less than two minutes into the second period. Dawes flicked the ball up in the right-hand side of the United box and unleashed a magnificent volley into the far top corner with his left foot.
United struggled to recover from that setback and after Harvey Sparks saw a shot deflect just wide of the home goal, Worthing doubled their advantage in the 57th minute. Ray upended Jack Barnes as the Worthing midfielder was about to pull the trigger in a dangerous position and Omar Bugiel sent Pelling the wrong way with the resulting penalty.
Although Okoh had a goalbound effort blocked and United switched to three up-front, Worthing looked comfortable until the hosts pulled one back in the 79th minute. Sam Cruttwell played a brilliant ball through to Medlock, who fired high into the net from a slight angle.
With the momentum suddenly in their favour, United started to look as though they might just salvage something. Yet even when Pelling came up for an added time corner, they were unable to test Banks in the away goal.
Worthing took advantage of United pushing bodies forward to add a third goal in the fifth minute of added time. Bugiel rounded Pelling and teed up substitute Callum Overton for a simple tap in.
United: Pelling, Crabb, Hall (Temba 71), Rowe, Ray, Vickers (Cruttwell 58), Adams, Okoh (Richardson-Brown 74), Medlock, Harris, Cole. Subs not used: Hanifan, Cumming-Bart. Attendance: 286.
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