Hastings United Football Club pulled off an incredible victory over higher grade opposition despite having three players sent-off and finishing the match with an outfield player in goal.
Bostik League South East Division club Hastings won 4-3 in a drama-filled Emirates FA Cup second round qualifying tie away to Evo-Stik League South Premier Central side Leiston this afternoon (Saturday).
The young Hastings team produced a tremendous battling performance to earn £9,000 from the FA’s prize fund (on top of the £8,890 the club had won in the previous two rounds) and a place in Monday’s third round qualifying draw.
See also: * Hastings on a high ahead of FA Cup clash
* Hastings come from 2-0 down to win 9-2
* Hastings knocked off top after first loss
On a fine playing surface in Suffolk, Hastings got off to a flying start as Daniel Ajakaiye gave them a fifth minute lead following a corner - his 15th goal already this season.
Leiston equalised nine minutes later, though, when Joe Jefford struck from a corner of their own and went 2-1 up five minutes after that through Matt Blake.
It was 2-2 at half time after Sam Adams got Hastings back on terms with a great strike in the 30th minute.
The tie seemed to be swinging very much Hastings’ way as the visitors struck in the 52nd and 55th minutes to lead 4-2. Kelvin Ogboe put Hastings ahead and shortly afterwards Adams gave them a two-goal cushion by converting a penalty for his second of the afternoon.
Barely two minutes later, however, the versatile Adams was donning the goalkeeper’s gloves after Charlie Horlock was sent-off for what the referee deemed deliberate handball outside the area.
Leiston pulled one back in the 68th minute via Blake’s second of the match and eight minutes later Hastings were reduced to nine men as Sam Cruttwell was shown his second yellow card.
Hastings were then forced to survive six minutes of added time, during which Jamie Fielding was also given a second yellow card, but the eight men on the pitch at the end somehow held out for a memorable victory.
Hastings: Horlock, Beale, Cruttwell, Howlett-Mundle, Christie, Lovatt, Ajakaiye (Climpson 88), Adams, Ogboe (Ibrahim 70), Walker (Dixon 59), Fielding. Subs not used: Vickers, Golding, Dullaway, Mensah. Attendance: 263.