Stirring Hastings comeback stuns Albion

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HASTINGS United came from two goals down to win 3-2 in a thrilling pre-season friendly at home to Brighton & Hove Albion.

The U’s had looked to be heading for defeat after conceding two goals early in the second half but hit back in dramatic fashion in the closing quarter of the match.

By that stage the Seagulls had made a number of changes with the likes of Spanish playmaker Vicente, Kazenga LuaLua and Ashley Barnes making way for the club’s talented young professionals from the development squad.

Hastings claimed a foothold in proceedings on 68 minutes when defender Josh Jirbandey got a touch on Zac Attwood’s volley and his header went in off the far post beyond former Manchester United keeper Tomasz Kucszak.

They then levelled eight minutes from time with a quite wonderful strike from Bailo Camara.

Gathering the ball some 25 yards out from goal, the forward held off a defender as he cut in from the right and from the top of the box unleashed a left foot shot which flashed beyond the right hand of Kucszak and went in off the crossbar.

The winner which arrived five minutes later wasn’t bad either. Attwood made space for himself some 20 yards out from goal and in an instant let fly with a crisply-hit shot which thumped into the roof of the net to leave half time substitute Kucszak far from happy.

This was Brighton’s first defeat of pre-season after wins over Maidstone United (5-0), Lewes (3-0) and Dorchester Town (3-0).

The Seagulls had earlier opened the scoring four minutes after half time through George Barker and not long after Jeremy Balmy made it two on the half volley.

Brighton, who named a strong starting line-up for this prestigious pre-season friendly, had more of the play in the first half but Hastings keeper Matt Armstrong-Ford did well to parry an effort from Matt Sparrow and beat out a shot from Vicente.

There was also scuffle early on after Inigo Calderon reacted badly to a challenge from Matt Whitehead, who along with Elliott Cox impressed in the full back berths.

Hastings starting XI: Armstrong-Ford, Cox, Whitehead, Carey, Ray, Jirbandey, Crellin, Vickers, Ellis, Attwood, Goldberg.

Brighton starting XI: Ankergren, Calderon, Greer, Dunk, Bruno, Harley, Sparrow, LuaLua, Vicente, Agdestein, Barnes.