Hastings United Football Club suffered its first home defeat of the season this afternoon (Saturday).
Chris Agutter’s side lost 4-2 against Whyteleafe in the Buildbase FA Trophy preliminary round after conceding three times in 17 second half minutes.
It was a highly disappointing afternoon for Hastings, who shipped some soft goals and missed a second half penalty in a clash between two teams in the Bostik League South East Division’s top five.
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Hastings threw new signing Youssuf Bamba straight into the starting line-up on the left of the front three and it was he had the game’s first real attempt at goal, showing great feet to work space for a shot which was well saved by the feet of Whyteleafe goalkeeper Tyler McCarthy.
Sam Adams’ deflected shot from 25 yards was gathered by McCarthy at the second attempt moments before Whyteleafe took a 19th minute lead.
A loose pass from a free kick by Hastings left-back Sam Cruttwell was seized upon by Bryan Akongo, who curled a delightful first time shot into the corner of the net from outside the area.
Bamba’s low cross from near the byeline was almost turned into his own net by Whyteleafe defender Corey Holder and a stinging Bamba drive from the left-hand side of the area was well tipped over by McCarthy.
Harrison Carnegie’s curling effort from 25 yards was only just wide of the far corner at the other end, while McCarthy came out well to deny Bamba after Daniel Ajakaiye somehow threaded the ball through to him.
Bamba was again involved as Hastings equalised in the 36th minute. His cross from the left slipped through the fingertips of McCarthy as he tried to catch the ball above his head and Jack Dixon had the simple task of nodding home from a yard out.
Towards the end of the half, Akonogo headed wide of the far post for Whyteleafe and Bamba flashed a shot across the face of goal after showing more silky footwork near the byeline.
Hastings had the bulk of the play during the first 15 minutes of the second period and Adams headed wide of the far post from Bamba’s cross after Eddie D’Sane had blazed over from inside the box at the other end.
At that stage there was little sign of the collapse that was to follow as the game rapidly got away from Hastings. Whyteleafe retook the lead in the 60th minute when Emmanuel Mensah was adjudged to have fouled D’Sane in the corner of the box and D’Sane scored the resulting penalty straight down the middle.
Akongo spurned a decent chance to make it 3-1 when he ballooned a left-footed shot way over the top from 10 yards, but Whyteleafe did stretch their advantage in the 71st minute.
Hastings defender Sinnkaye Christie made a quick dash off the field back to the changing room and before his replacement could come on, Dan Hector put D’Sane in on goal. Although Mensah did well to get back, D’Sane twisted and turned before rolling the ball home.
Whyteleafe added a fourth goal in the 76th minute. After a neat one-two just outside the area, Bentley Graham went through and finished coolly.
Carnegie’s angled shot was well saved by the feet of Hastings goalkeeper Charlie Horlock, while at the other end, Ajakaiye hit the side-netting at the end of a well-worked move.
Hastings had a golden opportunity to pull one back when Sam Adams was bundled over by Holder inside the box, but the usually reliable Adams saw his spot-kick saved by McCarthy, who also repelled Bamba’s follow-up.
Moments later Adams was again denied from an inviting position inside the box following good work from Ajakaiye and Dayshonne Golding, and Dixon’s well-struck follow-up was blocked.
Hastings did get a second goal in the second minute of added time. Hassan Ibrahim played a good ball down the left to Ajakaiye, who cut inside and got far enough away from Holder to fire a low shot into the net for his 17th goal of the season.
Hastings: Horlock; Fielding (Mensah HT (Ibrahim 78)), Howlett-Mundle, Christie (Vickers 72), Cruttwell; Lovatt, Dixon, Adams; Golding, Ajakaiye, Bamba. Subs not used: Climpson, Taylor. Attendance: 460.