New year starts with defeat

Hastings United's struggles continued with a 2-0 defeat away to Hythe Town this afternoon
Hastings United's struggles continued with a 2-0 defeat away to Hythe Town this afternoon
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Hastings United’s winning run against Hythe Town came to an end this afternoon (New Year’s Day).

The U’s had won all three meetings with their Kent opponents since the start of last season until suffering a 2-0 defeat on their travels in their opening game of 2015.

The result drops United below Hythe to 20th in Ryman Football League Division One South having picked up just six points from their last eight league matches.

United had a great chance in the opening seconds, but Ashley-Paul Robinson volleyed just wide with Hythe goalkeeper Roddy Hayward out of position. Moments later at the other end, Jack Sullivan fired over the crossbar.

Away goalkeeper Josh Pelling made a fine save from Sam Conlon and Ade Olorunda sliced wide at the other end before Hythe took a 21st minute lead. Michael Yianni’s long free kick made its way through to captain James Morrish, who scored with a good header.

A Robinson shot from Olorunda’s pass was saved by the legs of Hayward, while Pelling gathered a Yianni effort at the second attempt as Hythe - who had taken one point from their previous five fixtures - led 1-0 at the break.

Hayward produced a super stop from Evan Archibald following a Tom Vickers pass and at the other end Morrish was whiskers away from applying a potentially telling touch to Yianni’s cross.

United substitute Kenny Pogue was twice thwarted by Hayward, the first time after being played in by Olorunda, as the visitors got on top. Hythe weathered the storm, though, and Pelling was required to block Craig Thompson’s angled effort.

Pogue could only shoot into the arms of Hayward after good work by Olorunda and United’s fate was sealed by a second Hythe goal in the 88th minute, Ryan Philpott scoring moments after coming off the substitutes’ bench.

United: Pelling, Brinkhurst, Rose, Vickers, Ray, Farmer, Hassan (Pogue), Adams, A. Olorunda, Robinson, Archibald. Subs not used: McEniry, Keehan. Attendance: 302.

Standings (played-points): 1 Faversham Town 28-62, 2 Burgess Hill Town 23-59, 3 Merstham 28-57, 4 Folkestone Invicta 26-55, 5 Whyteleafe 27-45, 6 Worthing 28-43, 7 South Park 24-39, 8 Whitstable Town 28-38, 9 Tooting & Mitcham United 27-37, 10 Chipstead 27-37, 11 Herne Bay 29-37, 12 Sittingbourne 29-35, 13 Three Bridges 27-35, 14 Carshalton Athletic 28-34, 15 Corinthian-Casuals 26-34, 16 Guernsey 28-34, 17 Walton & Hersham 26-33, 18 East Grinstead Town 27-30, 19 Hythe Town 28-29, 20 HASTINGS UNITED 26-28, 21 Ramsgate 25-24, 22 Redhill 23-22, 23 Walton Casuals 24-22, 24 Horsham 24-17.