Hastings United’s game at home to Walton & Hersham tonight (Monday) was controversially abandoned.
The referee called a halt to the Ryman Football League Division One South fixture in the 62nd minute because of a waterlogged pitch with United leading 3-1 at the time.
The decision angered United players, officials and supporters alike, and the referee was roundly booed as he left the field. United would have gone back to the top of the table had they won, but the match - which was originally postponed on November 9 - will now have to be rearranged again.
The irony of it all was that it had quite possibly been the best game at The Pilot Field so far this season. Louis Glace-Palmer blazed over United’s crossbar when clean through in the first 45 seconds and Kenny Pogue fired just over from a very acute angle at the other end moments later.
United went ahead in the 10th minute of a match played in persistent very heavy drizzle. Tom Vickers received a good pass from Danny Ellis and drove forward before unleashing a powerful 25-yard strike which proved too hot for Walton goalkeeper Dane Buss to handle.
Walton almost hit back straight away, but United goalkeeper Josh Pelling made a brilliant fingertip save from Samad Kazi’s shot towards the far corner. United went 2-0 up in the 12th minute when Vickers pulled the ball back from the left-hand side of the box for Danny Ellis to stroke into the bottom corner.
Pelling beat out Kazi’s cross-shot following a cleverly worked free kick and Sam Adams was whiskers away with a 20-yard curler at the other end as the end-to-end action continued with both teams looking dangerous in attack.
Pogue headed against the face of Walton’s crossbar in the 40th minute from a good left wing cross by Vickers, while Pelling made a good save low to his right from Kazi moments later.
Walton pulled a goal back less than three minutes into the second half. United defender Sean Kelly upended Andy Lomas in the right-hand side of the box as United looked at it and Juan Onieva made no mistake with the resulting penalty.
Adams had a goalbound shot blocked after good work from Vickers and the same combination put United 3-1 up in the 53rd minute. Vickers put Adams in the clear with a lovely pass and Adams rounded Buss before rolling the ball home, but it was all to no avail as play was abandoned nine minutes later.
United: Pelling, Gilbert, Henson, Olorunda, Judge, Kelly, Ellis, Darby, Pogue, Adams, Vickers. Subs not used: McCreadie, Dolan, Woodley, Pacheco, Corrigan. Attendance: 285.