Hastings United Football Club went through the 50-point mark for the season with a home victory this afternoon (Saturday).
A goal in either half from Calum Davies and Jack Dixon gave Chris Agutter’s side a well-deserved 2-1 win against Ashford United in Bostik League Division One South.
Missed chances - continuing the theme of recent weeks - prevented the winning margin from being more comfortable, but it was a job pretty well done by Hastings as they achieved their second league ‘double’ of the campaign.
Hastings started positively on a wet and windy afternoon at The Pilot Field, and opened the scoring in the eighth minute. Ollie Rowe cut out an Ashford pass on halfway and played a nice ball through the away defence for Davies to run on to and slot past goalkeeper George Kamurasi.
The home side looked in complete control for much of the first half, playing some decent football. Sam Adams had a good chance to make it 2-0 following a tremendous run and pass by Sam Beale, but shot over the crossbar with just Kamurasi to beat.
Beale then received a Dixon short corner, stepped inside a defender and shot just wide of the near post, while Adams couldn’t direct his effort on target after Davies skipped past Pat Kingwell on the right.
Ashford, who like Hastings tried to play out from the back at every opportunity, began to grow into the game during the final 15 or so minutes of the first half.
Hastings goalkeeper Charlie Horlock made a good save with his feet to keep out George Grant’s angled shot before Ashford levelled in the 45th minute.
A Will Thomas free kick from just outside the box and slightly to the left of goal went through the Hastings defensive wall and nestled in the corner of the net, despite Horlock getting a hand to it low to his right.
Hastings went back in front, though, less than three minutes after the break. Antonio Walker’s low cross from near the byeline on the right was neatly turned home by Dixon.
Hastings seemed to have things pretty much under control thereafter, although a much-improved Ashford side from the reverse fixture three months ago was never out of it all the while there was only goal between the sides.
The hosts had a great chance to go 3-1 up on the hour. Dixon was denied by a great save from inside the penalty spot and Walker blazed the rebound over following a lovely build-up involving Sam Cruttwell and Adams.
Hastings fashioned several opportunities in the final 20 minutes, by which time they’d brought on Dayshonne Golding for Davies and moved Davide Rodari into the central striker’s role.
Golding’s shot from inside the box after good work by Rodari was saved by the goalkeeper’s legs, Rowe flashed an effort just wide from 25 yards, and Golding drove wide of the near post after cutting in from the left having been superbly picked out by Horlock.
Adams was off target while at full stretch following some terrific work by Rodari on the left, while Golding firstly couldn’t punish a careless Ashford back pass and then blasted well wide from Rowe’s ball across the face of goal.
Hastings, for whom Sinnkaye Christie impressed at the back, had one scare at the other end when Grant’s volley following a cross from the left struck the near post before the home side scrambled the ball to safety.
Hastings move up a place to ninth in the table and are now unbeaten in five games.
Hastings: Horlock, Rowe, Beale, Lovatt, Christie, Cruttwell, Rodari, Adams, Davies (Golding 72), Dixon, Walker. Subs not used: Climpson, Pritchard, Taggart, Janneh. Attendance: 420.
Bostik League Division One South top half (played-points): 1 Cray Wanderers 34-69, 2 Lewes 32-68, 3 Corinthian-Casuals 34-66, 4 Carshalton Athletic 32-65, 5 Greenwich Borough 33-64, 6 Walton Casuals 33-63, 7 Hythe Town 34-56, 8 Whyteleafe 34-53, 9 HASTINGS UNITED 34-52, 10 Phoenix Sports 34-51, 11 South Park 28-46, 12 Thamesmead Town 33-46.
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