Hastings shatter Police record
HASTINGS United ended the 100 per cent start of Metropolitan Police with an arresting 3-0 win at the Pilot Field on Saturday.
The Blues had rolled into town as one of only two teams in Ryman Division One still to boast a perfect record after notching up four wins out of four, but their 100 per cent start was well and truly obliterated and by the final whistle they looked pretty clueless.
Two goals from Ryan Peters and a first of the season from Carl Rook did the trick for a Hastings side that gave debuts to new signings Sean Ray and Dexley Fidyk in an attacking 3-4-3 formation.
Ray formed an integral link in the three-man central defence, while the willing Fidyk joined Rook and Chris Honey to form an attacking triumvirate.
Hastings enjoyed plenty of the ball in the opening exchanges but it was the visitors who created the better chances, with Chris Rose going close on a couple of occasions - the first forcing a decent save out of Danny Knowles and the second a free header which he somehow managed to direct past the upright.
The first real opportunity for Hastings fell to Peters who raced onto a ball beyond the left full back and shot towards the far corner of the net but Stuart MacKenzie saved with his leg. Soon after Chris Honey got up well but headed over before home skipper Jimmy Elford was in the right place to clear off his own goalline to deny Michael Mison.
Nine minutes before half time a pass behind the Police defence seemed to be running through to the keeper until Fidyk took a chance and nicked the ball ahead of MacKenzie who was unable to check himself, sending the forward tumbling in the box to concede a penalty. Last season's leading scorer Rook took the opportunity to open his account for this campaign by slotting home from 12 yards.
A couple of minutes later Peters should have doubled the lead but miskicked in-front of goal after a slick build-up involving Rook and Russell Eldridge.
The Police still looked dangerous and Andy Oxby came close to equalising when his 20-yard shot smacked against the crossbar, but Hastings gave themselves a bit of breathing space just before half time through Peters' first goal of the match. Rook started the move with a delightful volleyed lay-off into the run of Fidyk and his cross found Peters who fired high into the net beyond a flatfooted MacKenzie.
The goal completely knocked the stuffing out of a surprisingly fragile Police side which offered only the occasional threat in the second half; their best effort being a Rob Haworth header that had Knowles scrambling across his goalline.
Hastings, on the other hand, went on their merry way and after Rook had missed a glorious chance and had another effort ruled out for offside they made sure of the points with a third on 63 minutes. Peters started and finished the move, intercepting a pass deep in his own half and releasing Eldridge who crossed into the heart of the Police box. Fidyk failed to connect and the ball ran through to Peters who juggled and bundled his way past a couple of challenges before lifting his finish beyond the flailing keeper.