Hastings United suffered another setback in their battle against the drop with a 1-0 defeat at home to Leiston this afternoon (Saturday).
The U’s are now in the Ryman Football League Premier Division’s second relegation place having won just four league games all season - less than they managed during their glorious run to the third round of the FA Cup.
There wasn’t a lot to choose between the sides during the first half on a grey and chilly afternoon at The Pilot Field, although the two best chances fell to the Suffolk-based visitors.
Emmanuel Osei fired over from a central position 10 yards out and Rhys Henry headed wide from six yards. Gareth Heath also grazed the outside of United’s post with a low shot from 25 yards. At the other end, Elvis Hammond had the ball in Leiston’s net only to be rightly flagged offside.
Half time substitute Jack Dixon forced a diving save out of Leiston goalkeeper Glyn Dixon, but the visitors scored the all-important goal in the 58th minute. Matt Armstrong-Ford punched a corner straight to Henry, who fired through a crowded box into the roof of the net.
United finally seemed to get going after the goal, but despite giving it everything in pursuit of an equaliser, it wasn’t to be their day. Danny Ellis hit the outside of the near post from a tight angle after playing a neat one-two with Dee Okojie.
Dixon shot just wide and Ben Judge was denied by the goalkeeper at point blank range. Perhaps the best opening fell to Okojie, who latched onto a Judge ball forward which skipped through the away defence only to steer his shot just wide from inside the box.
United: Armstrong-Ford, Cox (Carey 84), Richardson, Crellin (c), Vickers (Dixon HT), Judge, Ellis, Adams, Hammond, Attwood, Camara (Okojie 58). Sub not used: Cruttwell.
Ryman Premier bottom seven (played-points): Harrow Borough 31-33, Cray Wanderers 32-33, Wingate & Finchley 35-31, Lewes 32-29, Thurrock 28-28, HASTINGS UNITED 29-26, Carshalton Athletic 32-22.
TODAY’S OTHER RESULT
Sussex County League, Division 2: WESTFIELD 2 Seaford Town 1.