Hastings United drew 3-3 at home to Lewes in an entertaining and controversial encounter this afternoon (New Year’s Day).
The U’s led three times only to be pegged back three times and finished their seventh successive Ryman Football League Premier Division draw with 10 men.
United drew first blood at a sunny Pilot Field in the 13th minute. Bradley Goldberg ran at Lewes full-back Steve Brinkhurst before squaring for Dee Okojie to superbly thump home with his left foot.
Their advantage lasted just three minutes. Nathan Crabb got goalside of the home defence from a long ball forward and although his shot was saved by the legs of George Howard, former U’s midfielder Jack Walder turned the rebound into an empty net.
Bradley Goldberg hit the outside of the post for United and Crabb headed over from close range at the other end before Goldberg put the hosts back in front with a 36th minute penalty awarded for a rather harsh handball decision.
Lewes levelled again in the 40th minute through a cracking 25-yard strike by Simon Wormull only for United to go 3-2 ahead three minutes later, Scott Manning nodding the ball home from close range after debutant Ian Daly and player-manager Sean Ray had seen efforts blocked on the line.
Into the second half and Howard made an important save with an outstretched right boot to deny Lewes substitute Layton Schaff. The visitors levelled once more via Karl Beckford’s 78th minute penalty after Manning was sent-off on the linesman’s intervention for a foul on Crabb when last man.
Lewes had a strong appeal for another spot-kick turned down in added time when Matt Whitehead appeared to foul Brinkhurst in the corner of the box and Wormull flashed a shot just wide.
United: Howard, Cox (Vickers 85), Whitehead, Crellin, Ray, Manning, Ellis (Carey 73), Dixon, Okojie (Richardson 81), Daly, Goldberg. Subs not used: Jirbandey, Abbott. Attendance: 771.