Hastings United moved out of the relegation places following a deserved 2-0 victory at home to Harrow Borough tonight (Thursday).
Second half goals from Sean Ray and Danny Ellis lifted United out of the Ryman Football League Premier Division’s bottom two, above Wingate & Finchley on goal difference with three games in hand.
After the hard work of club volunteers earlier in the day to clear the pitch of surface water and get the game on, United made a bright start with Bailo Camara having a decent effort from outside the box saved and Jamie Crellin firing just wide.
Camara then had a shot parried by Harrow goalkeeper Ross Fitzsimons, who pushed away Alassane N’Diaye’s follow up for a corner. Harrow swiftly broke down the other end and Daniel East made a good save low to his left from Shaun Lucien. The resulting corner ricocheted just over.
United rather lost their way during the remainder of the first half, although admittedly they weren’t helped by injuries to strikers Camara and Gareth Williams which meant Sam Adams played in three different positions during the opening 45 minutes.
Crellin and Ray had headers saved in the first five minutes of the second period before United made the breakthrough on the hour courtesy of Ray’s glancing header into the far corner from Lee Carey’s left wing free kick.
N’Diaye couldn’t wrap his foot round a shot from a good cross by Elliott Cox and then saw a fierce drive beaten out by Fitzsimons. Simeon Akinola went close for Harrow with what at that stage was their first clearcut chance of the night.
With the fog having cleared and the U’s battling hard despite inevitably tired legs, Carey went close to a second United goal with a shot which rolled just wide of the far post having been played in by Adams.
United did double their advantage in the 89th minute and what a goal it was too. Ray played a great ball out to Ellis wide on the left and the midfielder cut inside before unleashing a stunning strike which Fitzsimons got a hand to but couldn’t prevent from nestling in the top corner of the net.
There was still time for Akinola to shoot past the far post with just East to beat, while Carey flashed a free kick narrowly wide at the other end as United made it two wins in four days and completed their first ‘double’ of the season.
United: East, Adams, Murphy, Carey, Ray, Richardson, Ellis, Crellin (Vickers 90), Williams (Dixon 45), Camara (Cox 24), N’Diaye. Sub not used: Judge. Attendance: 337.
Ryman Premier bottom seven (played-points): Thurrock 36-38, Harrow Borough 36-37, Cray Wanderers 37-37, Lewes 38-36, HASTINGS UNITED 35-35, Wingate & Finchley 38-35, Carshalton Athletic 38-31.
The Sussex County League Division One derby between Rye United and Sidley United, meanwhile, has been rearranged for Thursday May 2 at a venue to be announced after being postponed due to a waterlogged pitch at The Salts.