Sixth home league draw in a row

Liam O'Brien had a fine game in the United goal
Liam O'Brien had a fine game in the United goal
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Hastings United fought out their sixth successive home league draw tonight (Tuesday).

Zac Attwood’s 80th minute equaliser earned United a 1-1 draw against Cray Wanderers from a Ryman League Premier Division match played in constant snowfall at The Pilot Field.

After the sterling efforts of groundsman Simon Rudkins and a handful of volunteers to clear the snow off the pitch to get the game on, Attwood came close to giving United an 11th minute lead with a shot on the turn which rolled just wide of the far post.

But the hosts were then grateful to Liam O’Brien for keeping them on level terms. The on loan goalkeeper firstly parried Leigh Bremner’s firm drive, then somehow kept the ball out when Chris Saunders seemed certain to score and made another fine reflex save before Michael Power sliced the rebound wide.

At the other end, Liam Murphy struck Cray’s crossbar with a cross, while Bradley Goldberg was thwarted by an excellent last ditch challenge and then had a low shot saved from a good position inside the box. Danny Ellis also called away goalkeeper Andy Walker into action with a low drive from just outside the box.

But it was Cray who opened the scoring in the 44th minute. The referee deemed that United debutant Ben Judge had fouled Power inside the box and Bremner sent O’Brien the wrong way with the resulting penalty.

United had Jack Dixon stretchered off seconds before the break. Goldberg went close in the first five minutes of the second period, while O’Brien made a couple of saves at the other end but it wasn’t until the last 10 minutes or so that the half really came alive.

The U’s levelled when Goldberg rode the challenge of Walker to the left of goal and squared for Attwood to turn the ball home. O’Brien then made a great save with his legs from a clean through Bremner moments before Attwood’s shot was saved by Walker at the other end.

Tom Vickers wasn’t far away with a 25-yard curler as the clock ticked into added time. O’Brien saved a low shot and Goldberg had an effort from the edge of the box blocked as both teams pressed for a winner but neither came up with one. United move up two places to fourth-from-bottom.

United: O’Brien, Cox, Murphy, Carey, Judge, Richardson, Dixon (Okojie HT), Vickers, Ellis (Stone 66), Attwood, Goldberg. Subs not used: Manning, Bachellier, Beckles-Richards. Attendance: 247.