Hastings United's footballers were dumped out of the county's premier knockout competition tonight (Tuesday).
United conceded three goals in the first half en route to a a 4-1 loss at home to Three Bridges in round two of the Parafix Sussex Senior Challenge Cup.
An experimental United side enjoyed the bulk of the play and produced some nice football at times, but problems in both penalty boxes proved their undoing in an all-Ryman Football League Division One South tie.
Tom Climpson and Bradley Pritchard were given an opportunity in the starting line-up, while fellow youngsters Sonny Dullaway, Charlie Ball and Jordan Harley came off the bench, with Dullaway particularly impressive.
United goalkeeper Ryan Nicholls produced an excellent reaction save from Mitchell Casselman's header at a free kick before Bridges took a 14th minute lead. Tony Garrod controlled a ball over the top and slotted confidently past Nicholls.
Four minutes later it was 2-0. Casselman got the better of Richard Davies and Pritchard on the away left before rolling the ball across goal for Martin Grant to tap home.
Ollie Rowe made an important tackle on Garrod after the forward had rounded Nicholls prior to a clinical Bridges side going three-up in first half added time. Davies was adjudged to have nudged Casselman in the back and Kieran Djilali converted the resulting penalty.
Bridges added a fourth just five minutes into the second period. A loose ball broke to Garrod just outside the D and he picked out the top corner with a delightful finish.
United pulled one back four minutes later. Sam Cole's corner took a couple of ricochets before falling to Davies, who drove home a low left-footed shot from 10 yards.
The hosts had plenty of opportunities thereafter to have further reduced their deficit. Dullaway brought a smart stop out of Bridges goalkeeper Kieron Thorp with a decent run and shot, and Thorp then pulled off a fine double save from Sam Cruttwell and Harry Stannard.
Bright Temba shot just wide of the far post, Stannard flashed an effort right across goal from a great cross by Dullaway and the same player miscued a volley wide from another good ball by Dullaway.
Temba blazed a glorious opening over the crossbar from Dullaway's cutback and Stannard flashed a shot narrowly over from just outside the D, but it wasn't to be United's night.
United: Nicholls, Climpson, Cole, Cruttwell, Davies, Rowe, Pritchard (Ball 80), Cogan (Dullaway HT), Harris (Harley 80), Temba, Stannard. Attendance: 193.
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