Hastings United Football Club celebrated a sorely-needed victory over previously undefeated opposition tonight (Tuesday).
Chris Agutter’s side produced a dogged, determined display to win 2-0 against Carshalton Athletic in his first Bostik Football League Division One South home game as manager.
Carshalton dominated possession, but Hastings defended resolutely to keep their first league clean sheet of the season, and a goal in either half from Sam Beale and Davide Rodari gave them a first victory since August 26.
The pattern was set from the early stages, with Hastings playing more like the away side, getting bodies behind the ball and making themselves difficult to play through, although they were guilty of squandering possession too easily at times.
Despite seeing so much of the ball and playing some neat football, a Carshalton side likely to be there or thereabouts come the end of the season created precious few clearcut chances and most of Hastings goalkeeper Charlie Horlock’s saves were fairly regulation.
Horlock gathered Mickel Miller’s shot at the second attempt before Hastings took the lead against the run of play in the 17th minute. Jack Dixon twisted and turned before playing a lovely ball over the top which Beale brought under control and then slotted past goalkeeper Billy Bishop.
Hastings defender Tom Vickers made an important block from Miller’s goalbound shot and moments later Sam Cruttwell headed over at the other after some great work by Sam Adams, who put in a huge shift up-front for the home side.
After Ollie Rowe came on for Vickers at half time, Adams had a couple of attempts at goal in the first 10 minutes of the second period, firstly driving just wide of the far post and then seeing a shot from outside the area held by Bishop above his head.
Bobby Price shot narrowly wide from a few yards outside the box at the other end. Hastings forward Kenny Pogue was fortunate not to be shown a second yellow approaching the hour mark for a tackle from behind and was substituted before the resulting free kick was taken.
Then came Carshalton’s best chance of the night. Rhys Whyborne didn’t get enough weight on his back header and Raheem Sterling-Parker went through on goal, but Horlock came to the rescue by thwarting the Carshalton player as he tried to round him.
Miller’s low shot was gathered by Horlock and a Jordan Cheadle free kick from right on the edge of the Hastings box deflected wide off the defensive wall, while Cruttwell’s low free kick at the other end was collected by Bishop.
A second Hastings goal hadn’t looked at all likely, but it came via a terrific effort from substitute Rodari in the 80th minute. Ollie Black’s throw-in from well inside the Hastings half sailed over the two players who jumped for it, Rodari picked up the loose ball and ran at the away defence before drilling a superb left-foot shot from just outside the area into the near bottom corner.
Hastings saw the game out comfortably thereafter and might well have scored a third in added time. Cruttwell intercepted a Carshalton pass and set off into the vacant space in front of him only to see his shot saved by Bishop.
The result moves Hastings up a place to 17th in the table with 11 points from 10 games.
Hastings: Horlock, Akoto (Lovatt 83), Black, Carey, Whyborne, Vickers (Rowe HT), Cruttwell, Dixon, Adams, Pogue (Rodari 60), Beale. Subs not used: Climpson, Bown. Attendance: 298.