Hastings United were edged out 1-0 away to Lowestoft Town tonight (Monday).
Despite making the 330-plus mile round trip with just 12 players, the U’s ran close a Lowestoft side which has risen to fourth in the Ryman Football League Premier Division.
With several players unavailable, United handed a first team debut to goalkeeper Matt Cruttwell, and their back four included Tom Vickers at centre-half, Jack Dixon at right-back and Elliott Cox at left-back.
United’s 4-5-1 formation worked well as they defended superbly during the first half. Lowestoft, 4-1 winners in last month’s reverse fixture, saw plenty of the ball, but posed little threat to the away goal.
The Trawlerboys grabbed the all-important goal five minutes into the second half, however, when United failed to deal with the loose ball after a good save from Cruttwell and Chris Henderson scored.
Sam Adams had United’s first shot on target after an hour and Zac Attwood later had a free kick saved, while Lowestoft went just wide on a couple of occasions at the other end.
United: Cruttwell, Cox, Dixon, Carey (Freeman), Vickers, Judge, Crellin, Adams, Hammond, Attwood, Okojie.
Ryman Premier standings (played-points): 1 Whitehawk 31-63, 2 Wealdstone 29-56, 3 Canvey Island 29-50, 4 Lowestoft Town 26-49, 5 Concord Rangers 26-48, 6 Bury Town 30-47, 7 Margate 28-46, 8 Met Police 27-44, 9 Kingstonian 28-43, 10 Hendon 29-42, 11 Bognor Regis Town 29-39, 12 Leiston 29-39, 13 East Thurrock United 27-36, 14 Hampton & Richmond Borough 26-35, 15 Enfield Town 30-35, 16 Harrow Borough 29-29, 17 Lewes 31-29, 18 Cray Wanderers 29-29, 19 Wingate & Finchley 31-28, 20 HASTINGS UNITED 28-26, 21 Thurrock 24-24, 22 Carshalton Athletic 31-22.