Hastings United conceded a late goal to lose 2-1 away to Folkestone Invicta tonight (Tuesday).
Folkestone defender Frankie Chappell headed home a Matt Newman cross in the 88th minute to condemn 10-man United to an eighth defeat from their last 12 Ryman Football League Division One South away fixtures and third in succession.
United welcomed back Tim Olorunda from injury and the midfielder turned defender picked up an early booking, but there was little goalmouth incident during the opening quarter-of-an-hour at Fullicks Stadium.
Sam Adams fired across the face of the home goal before Folkestone spurned a good chance to open the scoring, Dane Luchford firing over following James Everitt’s cross from the right. Johan Ter Horst then brought a save out of United goalkeeper Josh Pelling with a shot from just outside the box.
With Taser Hassan catching the eye for United, Danny Ellis saw a shot gathered by home stopper Tim Roberts. The hosts led at half time thanks to a fine finish from young prospect Ter Horst in the 42nd minute after Everitt chested down a Luchford cross.
After a fairly even first half, United were slow to get going at the start of the second period. Ben Judge made an important defensive header before Everitt headed a corner against the visitors’ crossbar.
Judge made a vital block before Ellis was sent-off in the 64th minute having collected two yellow cards in quick succession. It was only United’s second red card in the league all season and first since October.
Despite being a man down against a Folkestone side which has now won nine of its last 10 home encounters, United got back on level terms with 10 minutes to go when Adams converted a penalty he won himself.
United were unable to hang on for what would have been a very commendable point against third-placed opposition, however, as Chappell’s late strike consigned them to a third successive loss.
United remain in the final play-off spot of fifth. They are now three points behind fourth-placed Guernsey, who won 1-0 at Redhill, and three above sixth-placed Burgess Hill Town, who will play their game in hand away to Burgess Hill Town tomorrow.
United: Pelling, Bachellier (O’Connor HT), Cruttwell, Darby, Judge, Olorunda, Hassan, Ellis, Sawyer, Pogue, Adams. Subs not used: Oyinsan, Woodley, Ferguson, Toney. Attendance: 307.
Ryman Division One South top seven (played-points): 1 Peacehaven & Telscombe 42-101 (+75 goal difference), 2 Leatherhead 43-88 (+46), 3 Folkestone Invicta 43-82 (+41), 4 Guernsey 43-76 (+27), 5 HASTINGS UNITED 43-73 (+9), 6 Burgess Hill Town 42-70 (+18), 7 Merstham 43-70 (+16).