Hastings United came from behind to win at home to Horsham for the second successive Saturday.
The U’s overturned a half time deficit to run out 2-1 winners and remain second in Ryman Football League Division One South. It was a victory they deserved on the strength of an improved second half performance.
Rather like in the FA Trophy tie between the two clubs last weekend, United struggled to get going during a low key opening 45 minutes. Bailo Camara shot just wide from 25 yards and Kenny Pogue headed over from Camara’s cross in their only real moments of note.
Horsham didn’t really perform any better, but it was they who led through a 41st minute goal by Gabriel Odunaike, who stabbed home after Tony Nwachukwu got the better of Akwasi Fobi-Edusei - a surprise starter for United - on the away right.
The visitors - fresh off a 3-1 win at home to Walton the previous Wednesday night - had the game’s best chance prior to that when Billy Dunn completely missed his kick from an inviting position.
Whatever United’s managerial team said to the players at half time had the desired effect because the hosts began the second period with much more purpose to their play.
United got back on level terms in the 54th minute. Sam Adams delivered an inswinging corner from the left which Tim Olorunda met with a downward header which goalkeeper Michael Hunter got a hand to but couldn’t prevent from trickling over the line.
Olorunda’s first goal since the opening week of the season atoned for his red card seven days previously. Kenny Pogue headed home a great left wing cross from Adams 10 minutes later only for the linesman’s flag to cut short his celebrations.
United did get one to count, though, just moments later. Danny Ellis chipped the ball into the box from the left and Ben Judge might have got a touch, but Horsham defender Jahmahl King diverted it past Hunter. King must be sick of the sight of The Pilot Field having been sent-off last week.
Josh Pelling made a great save from a clean through Jamie Cade to preserve United’s advantage, while at the other end, Adams saw a fierce left-foot shot beaten out by Hunter before firing wide of the near post moments later.
Nwachukwu was whiskers away from getting a potentially decisive touch to Junior Kaffo’s header across goal with Horsham’s last throw of the dice and in the dying seconds Pogue had a great chance to add a third for United only to be denied by the impressive Hunter.
United: Pelling, Gilbert, Fobi-Edusei, Darby, Judge, Hare, Ellis, Olorunda, Pogue, Adams, Camara. Subs not used: Cumming-Bart, Woodley, Corrigan, Cruttwell, Richardson. Attendance: 447.