HASTINGS United finally gave their fans something to smile about with a thumping 5-0 win at home to Horsham.
This was the U’s first victory in the Ryman Premier League since beating Kingstonian on September 13 which happened to be the last time they scored a goal at The Pilot Field.
The net-bulging blitz also bettered the three goals they had managed in their previous eight home games so far this season.
Caretaker manager Mark Stapley and assistant Sean Ray opted for an attacking 4-3-3 formation which paid immediate dividends against fellow strugglers also on the lookout for a new manager.
Hastings took the lead after only six minutes when Ross Sutton’s ball from the left was touched on by debutant Jordan Woodley, a first year professional at Brighton & Hove Albion, and Kenny Pogue did the rest by firing between the legs of goalkeeper Ken Westoby.
Horsham almost grabbed an immediate equaliser but Craig Davies’ half volley flashed over the crossbar. This was a rare excursion in Hastings territory, however, as the home side created a host of chances which should have had the game won by half time.
Zac Attwood wasted two glorious openings and in between Woodley was denied by Westoby before Jack Dixon lashed wildly at another great opportunity.
It was more of the same after the break with Pogue seeing his shot come back off Westoby and strike the foot of the near post.
Woodley then came within a whisker of rounding off a move involving Ryan Thomson and Josh Jirbandey as the Horsham backline was sliced apart with ease.
The visitors pressed the self-destruct button midway through the half with two of their players being shown straight red cards.
Helge Orome was sent-off following a clash with Jamie Crellin and not long after Calum McGeehan was dismissed for bringing down Pogue in the box. Lee Carey slotted home the penalty to pretty much settle this Sussex derby.
The rest of the match became a question of how many more Hastings would score. They bagged another three with Pogue netting his second from Carey’s neat pass before Crellin slid in for his first goal for the club from a Sutton through ball.
Attwood rounded things off from a Dixon pull back but there was also time for Pogue to miss out on a hat-trick by somehow slicing wide from four yards after Westoby had pushed a Ray header onto the crossbar.
Hastings (4-3-3): Anderson; Dixon (Elgar 84), Ray, Jirbandey, Sutton; Thomson, Crellin, Carey; Attwood, Pogue, Woodley (Fenelon 69). Subs not used: Billings, Bolwell, Armstrong-Ford.
Horsham: Westoby, Orome, Salami, Youle (Rice 46), Jacobs, McGeehan, Nwachukwu (Hidor 76), Peauroux (Hutchings 46), Davies. Eldridge, Freeman. Subs not used: Dunne, Varley.
Referee: Matthew Hopton (Bury St Edmunds). Attendance: 325.