Former Hastings United forward Calum Davies scored the goal which sent the football club out of the Bostik League’s knockout competition.
Davies, who netted 13 goals for Hastings last season, got the winner as South East Division high-flyers Hastings lost 2-1 at home to Premier Division outfit Merstham in round two of the Velocity Trophy tonight (Tuesday).
Hastings finished the match with 10 men after Sam Adams was sent-off, just three days after his 500th appearance for the club.
See also: * Hastings United captain Sam Adams overwhelmed after 500th appearance
* Hastings United triumph in Sam Adams’ 500th game
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In a pretty decent contest between two fairly well matched teams on a cold and wet night, all the goals came in the space of five minutes early in the second half.
Merstham struck first in the 53rd minute. Davies got away in space down the away right and rolled the ball across the area for Tom Bird to side-foot home.
Hastings levelled just two minutes later. Following a good tackle by Sam Beale in the Merstham box, Jahmal Howlett-Mundle found the top corner from 16 yards for his first Hastings goal.
Two minutes after that, though, Howlett-Mundle gave the ball away to Davies, whose bouncing drive from 25 yards beat Matt Cruttwell in the Hastings goal.
With regular goalkeeper Charlie Horlock nursing a facial injury and his deputy Tommy Taylor cup-tied (having played against Hastings for East Grinstead Town in the previous round), Little Common stopper Cruttwell stepped in and performed pretty well.
Both sides had their moments during a goalless first half, with Hastings’ best efforts coming in the opening 20 minutes and Merstham’s in the final 20 minutes.
Youssouf Bamba’s long range strike was well tipped over by Merstham goalkeeper Amadou Tangara before a well-struck Adams volley was blocked by a visiting defender.
Bamba was denied by a smothering save from Tangara having been played in by Jack Dixon’s ball over the top and seconds later a Merstham defender did well to clear as Daniel Ajakaiye seemed set to get on the end of an Adams cross.
Merstham midfielder Gus Sow struck the angle of post and crossbar with a thumping effort from inside the box before Walter Figueira shot narrowly wide from just outside the area.
Harry Osborne’s angled shot from the right-hand side of the box went just wide of the far post and shortly before the break Sow again came agonisingly close, this time with a shot which was cleared off the line by Sam Cruttwell.
Lanre Azeez and the impressive Bamba had shots from either side of the area saved as Hastings started the second period strongly. Tutu Henriques saw a header stopped by Matt Cruttwell at the other end moments before the goals started flying in.
After the goals, Dixon headed wide from an Azeez cross at one end and Tayshan Hayden-Smith’s well-struck shot from inside the box at the other was blocked.
Hastings captain Adams was shown his second yellow card in two minutes, both for fouls, although his manager Chris Agutter said he slipped when making the tackle which led to his dismissal.
Hastings reacted well to being a man down and substitute Charlie Curran saw an angled drive blocked. At the other end, Figueira sliced wide of the near post when clear down the Merstham right and a Kershaney Samuels free kick was well held by Matt Cruttwell.
Hastings: M. Cruttwell; Walker, Howlett-Mundle, S. Cruttwell, Beale (Climpson 82); Ibrahim, Dixon, Adams; Azeez (Curran 73), Ajakaiye, Bamba. Subs not used: Makwiramiti, Lovatt, Fielding. Attendance: 198.