HASTINGS United’s miserable run continued as they slumped to a far from deserved 1-0 defeat at home to Canvey Island.
The only goal came via a contentious penalty midway through the first half and sent the U’s tumbling to their 11th successive defeat in all competitions.
Despite the spot-kick, relegation-threatened Hastings should still have come away with at least a welcome point. The reason they didn’t was due to their failure to grab what seemed a certain equaliser during an incredible scramble just before the final whistle.
Skipper Sean Ray, who once again playing upfront, did brilliantly to get away down the left and his low cross was half saved by the Canvey goalkeeper and ball sat up nicely for Harry Beautyman a couple of yards out from goal.
Everyone in the crowd waited for the net to bulge but a combination of the goalkeeper, a covering defender and the far post somehow managed to thwart the midfielder.
The defeat was cruel on a Hastings side which had made a bright start to this Ryman Premier encounter at The Pilot Field.
Sam Adams’ driven cross forced the keeper to parry at his near post and then Ben Davisson fired against the base of the post. Ray also headed over from a corner and had another effort saved on the goalline.
Hastings were stopped in their tracks when the linesman spotted a handball by Josh Millwood in the box and despite the protest of the home players the referee pointed to the spot. Craig Davidson scored with his scuffed penalty going in off the post.
Canvey should have doubled their lead on the half hour when Danny Heale headed over an unguarded net before Beautyman almost levelled right on half time.
The second half didn’t have quite so many goalmouth incidents although Scott Chalmers-Stevens did pull off a great one-handed save low to his right to deny Jay Curran on the hour mark. At the other end, Russell Eldridge and Adams fired wide and Andre Taiwo’s driven cross forced the keeper into action.
Hastings: Chalmers-Stevens, Rowe, Sutton, Hall (Taiwo 60), Jirbandey, Millwood, Adams, Davisson, Ray, Beautyman, Eldridge. Subs not used: Olorunda, Storrie, Newman, Manning. Referee: Stuart Butler (Maidstone). Attendance: 325.