It all went wrong in the second half as Hastings United lost away to Leatherhead today (Saturday).
The U’s went down 3-0 against their fellow Ryman Football League Division One South promotion hopefuls with all the goals coming after the break in their first away game since Boxing Day.
With captain Ben Judge sidelined by a neck injury and full-back Tom Gilbert unavailable, United were forced into a defensive reshuffle against a second-placed Leatherhead side playing its first home fixture since its Fetcham Grove ground was badly flooded over the festive period.
Tim Olorunda dropped back to centre-half alongside captain-for-the-day Sean Kelly with Matt Darby coming in at right-back. Andy Henson returned from injury at left-back, and there were starts in midfield for Ronnie Dolan and Bailo Camara.
United edged the opening 45 minutes, but Leatherhead had the better chances. Danny Ellis and Sam Adams were off target for the visitors early on before Adams had an effort blocked and Kenny Pogue couldn’t quite get on the end of a Tom Vickers cross.
Adams shot wide from a free kick, while at the other end, Terry’s shot was well saved by United goalkeeper Josh Pelling. Olorunda wasn’t quite able to reach an Adams free kick before Bradbrook squandered a golden opportunity for Leatherhead, surging clear only to blaze over.
Leatherhead bossed the second period, though, and ultimately ran out comfortable winners of a match which ended in dreadful conditions. Paul Semakula had a shot well stopped by Pelling and Bradbrook failed to steer home the rebound.
Bradbrook wasn’t to be denied and opened the scoring in the 55th minute after running clear of the away defence and rounding Pelling. Terry doubled Leatherhead’s advantage 13 minutes with a fine strike from the corner of the area which went in off a post.
Lendzo Narins came off the bench for his United debut and made a strong burst down the right before delivering a cross which led to Pogue having a shot saved. With the rain hammering down, Pelling saved from Leatherhead subsitute Mohamed Eisa prior to Bradbrook chipping home the Tanners’ third.
United: Pelling, Darby, Henson (Cruttwell), Olorunda, Dolan, Kelly, Ellis, Camara (Narins), Pogue, Adams, Vickers (Woodley). Subs not used: Corrigan, Shelton. Attendance: 410.
Ryman Division One South top nine (played-points): 1 Peacehaven & Telscombe 26-60, 2 Leatherhead 27-55, 3 Guernsey 29-52, 4 HASTINGS UNITED 25-49, 5 Folkestone Invicta 27-47, 6 Walton Casuals 27-45, 7 Burgess Hill Town 25-44, 8 Ramsgate 29-44, 9 Faversham Town 28-44.