Pelling saves earn draw

Josh Pelling was man of the match in Hastings United's 0-0 draw at home to Faversham Town. Picture by Terry S. Blackman
Josh Pelling was man of the match in Hastings United's 0-0 draw at home to Faversham Town. Picture by Terry S. Blackman
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Hastings United recorded their first goalless draw of the season tonight (Monday).

The U’s just about did enough to earn a 0-0 draw at home to Faversham Town in their final Ryman Football League Division One South home midweek fixture of the 2013/14 campaign.

On the plus side, it was United’s second consecutive clean sheet, but on the down side, they didn’t manage a genuine attempt at goal during the entire game and they needed some good saves from man of the match Josh Pelling to keep the visitors at bay in the last half-hour.

United’s cause certainly wasn’t helped by the absence through injury of Tim Olorunda, Tom Vickers, Frankie Sawyer and Sam Cruttwell, the last of whom pulled out in the warm-up to hand Charlie Bachellier a first start at left-back.

But there was still a fair amount of first team experience in a starting line-up which included fit-again central defender Josh Jirbandey, who played his final game before returning to university in the United States.

There was precious little goalmouth action during a fairly even and uneventful first two-thirds of the game on a pleasantly mild spring evening at The Pilot Field.

Faversham had the only three attempts of note during the first half. Renford Tenyue and strike partner Brendon Cass were narrowly off target with a left-foot drive and dipping volley respectively from outside the box, while Darren Marsden’s free kick was fairly comfortably caught by Pelling.

The visitors certainly looked the more likely winners during the closing 30 minutes. Cass had a great chance to put them in front only to see his far post header from Tenyue’s left wing cross well saved by the legs of Pelling.

After Marsden shot into the side-netting having nutmegged Sam Adams on the away left, United breathed a sigh of relief when Pelling repelled David Botterill’s back post header and Ben Judge blocked Marsden’s follow-up.

Pelling dived to his right to keep out Jamie Maxted’s header from a free kick before the offside flag came to United’s rescue when substitute Luke Harvey turned in a miscued shot across goal by Cass. Harvey forced Pelling into one final stop with an angled drive from the left.

United: Pelling, Adams, Bachellier, Darby, Judge, Jirbandey, Hassan, O’Connor (Ferguson 68), Pogue (Oyinsan 88), McCreadie, Ellis (Masters 89). Subs not used: Corrigan, Nessling. Attendance: 305.

Ryman Division One South top six (played-points): 1 Peacehaven & Telscombe 39-92, 2 Leatherhead 40-82, 3 Guernsey 39-71, 4 Folkestone Invicta 38-70, 5 HASTINGS UNITED 39-70, 6 Merstham 39-67.

More to follow.