United hit back to earn away point

Curtis Gayler scored his first Hastings United goal in the 1-1 draw away to Cray Wanderers. Picture courtesy Scott White
Curtis Gayler scored his first Hastings United goal in the 1-1 draw away to Cray Wanderers. Picture courtesy Scott White

Hastings United Football Club ended a run of three straight defeats in all competitions with a commendable away point tonight (Wednesday).

Adam Hinshelwood’s side came from behind to earn a 1-1 draw away to still unbeaten Cray Wanderers in Bostik League Division One South.

Both goals came during the first half. Cray took a 13th minute lead only for Hastings to level 23 minutes later via a Curtis Gayler penalty - his first goal for the club.

Hinshelwood made four changes to his starting XI from the weekend defeat at Phoenix Sports. Lee Carey, Tom Climpson, Gayler and Sonny Dullaway came into a youthful side, while Sam Cruttwell, Billy Medlock, Ansu Janneh and Bradley Pritchard dropped to the bench. Simon Johnson, Sam Beale and Tom Vickers remain sidelined by injury.

The pace of Brandon Scott on the Cray right caused Hastings real problems early on and it was Scott who put the hosts ahead.

Hinshelwood made an early substitution, bringing on Cruttwell for Ollie Black after 20 minutes, and Hastings got to grips with Scott a bit more during the rest of the first half.

Hastings gradually eased their way into the game as the opening period progressed, although Cray still looked dangerous and Charlie Horlock produced an outstanding display in the away goal.

The visitors got back on terms before the break when Davide Rodari was brought down in the box and Gayler stepped up to convert the resulting penalty.

Cray enjoyed a lot more of the play than Hastings during the second half, but Hastings hung on in there and produced the odd promising break without really coming close to scoring.

Although Cray put a lot of balls into the box, Hastings didn’t look like conceding and showed a lot of composure towards the end. In fact, Hastings almost nabbed a winner in the second of five minutes of added time when they broke away and Medlock struck the post.

The result leaves Hastings 15th in the table with eight points from their first six league matches. Their next fixture is at home to Herne Bay next Tuesday night.

Hastings: Horlock, Aziaya, Black (Cruttwell), Carey (Janneh), Climpson, Rowe, Gayler (Medlock), Dixon, Rodari, Adams, Dullaway. Subs not used: Pritchard, Rodrigues-Barbosa.