Hastings United came from behind to grab a sorely-needed 2-1 win at home to Corinthian-Casuals this afternoon (Saturday).
Two fine goals in the closing 15 minutes from Trevor McCreadie and Frankie Sawyer ended United’s run of three consecutive Ryman Football League Division One South defeats without scoring.
United made just one change to their starting line-up from the 2-0 loss at home to Chipstead on Monday, but reverted to a 4-4-2 formation with Tom Vickers moving back into his more familiar midfield role.
The U’s had the first real chance in the 12th minute when Casuals goalkeeper Danny Bracken made a brilliant reflex save to keep out Josh Jirbandey’s powerful near post header from Sam Adams’s left wing corner.
Casuals striker Jamie Byatt almost punished a mix-up between Josh Pelling and Jirbandey at the other end, though, and United were then grateful to a Sam Cruttwell block as Michael Fahm tried to turn the ball home from the tightest of angles having beaten Pelling to it.
Pelling pulled off a splendid save at full stretch low to his right from a Danny Dudley shot, but United nearly broke the deadlock a couple of minutes later as Sawyer’s instinctive first time effort was saved by the feet of Bracken and the follow-up from Vickers was blocked by a defender.
United were slow to get going at the start of the second half and Pelling was called upon to tip over an angled drive by Dave Hodges within 30 seconds of the restart. Pelling then had to backpeddle quickly to turn over Byatt’s misdirected cross before making a smart stop diving to his right from the same player.
Second-bottom Casuals drew first blood in the 63rd minute. Byatt slammed home a penalty he won himself as a result of being brought down by Tim Olorunda after Casuals substitute Mario Quassach skinned Cruttwell on the away right.
Olorunda headed a Danny Ellis corner over the top from three yards and frustration was growing in the home camp until McCreadie equalised with a strong contender for goal of the season in the 77th minute. After good persistence from Sawyer, McCreadie produced a brilliant overhead kick which flashed past Bracken.
That was United’s first goal for around 375 minutes and they had to wait just four more minutes for their next. A good move down the home left ended with Cruttwell delivering an inch-perfect low cross for Sawyer to side-foot home what proved to be the winner.
United: Pelling, Darby (Ellis 51), Cruttwell, Olorunda, Judge, Jirbandey, Vickers, Adams, Sawyer (Oyinsan 86), Pogue (McCreadie 51), Hassan. Subs not used: O’Connor, Camara. Attendance: 351.
Ryman Division One South top nine (played-points): 1 Peacehaven & Telscombe 35-80, 2 Leatherhead 36-73, 3 Guernsey 36-68, 4 Folkestone Invicta 35-64, 5 HASTINGS UNITED 34-62, 6 Faversham Town 36-58, 7 Burgess Hill Town 34-54, 8 Walton Casuals 34-54, 9 Merstham 34-52.
More to follow.