Two pieces of individual brilliance from one of their less heralded players gave Hastings United Football Club its first home league victory in more than two months.
The U’s won 2-0 against Walton & Hersham in Ryman Football League Division One South this afternoon (Saturday) courtesy of two splendid second half goals from the excellent Tyrell Richardson-Brown.
In a squad containing plenty of higher level experience, Richardson-Brown has had to wait for his chance this season. But when it came, he seized it with both hands via an impressive goalscoring display against Tonbridge Angels earlier this month and he’s kept his place since then.
On this evidence, it’s clear to see why. The rangy striker was a constant threat with his pace and non-stop running, and it was these qualities, plus no shortage of persistence and skill, which produced the opening goal out of nothing in the 53rd minute.
The linesman initially raised his flag for offside against Billy Medlock, but Richardson-Brown continued his run from an onside position and got to an innocuous-looking ball down the United right before away goalkeeper Jack Howard, poked it past him near the byeline and squeezed home his shot from an acute angle.
Seven minutes later he was at it again. This time Richardson-Brown met Ollie Rowe’s long diagonal ball over the Walton defence with a tremendous side-foot volley which flashed past Howard and into the net.
Richardson-Brown had earlier looked United’s most dangerous player during a pretty forgettable first half of few chances. He saw a left-foot shot deflect wide following a good ball over the top by Simon Johnson during a quiet opening 15 minutes and midway through the half played a lovely ball through to Johnson, who pulled his shot well wide of the far post.
Medlock’s firm drive at the end of a good United move was repelled by Howard as the U’s got on top for a 15-minute spell during the middle of the first half. Walton enjoyed their best period of the match during the latter part of the opening half and home goalkeeper Josh Pelling made his only noteworthy save all afternoon with his feet to keep out Moses Ashikodi’s shot on the turn.
Harry Mills saw a back header from Dominic Ogun’s free kick go just beyond the far upright a minute before Richardson-Brown put United ahead, while Sean Ray’s powerful header from a Sam Adams corner was well saved at the other end between the goals.
United seldom looked in any real danger after the two goals, Walton’s only moment of note being a mishit Shaquille McIntosh volley which rolled wide of the far post. Jack Harris probably should’ve added a third for United in added time, but couldn’t direct his close range finish on target from Sam Cole’s low cross.
In the end it was a pretty comfortable, if not overly convincing, victory for a United side which moves up to 11th after making it three consecutive league wins for the first time this campaign.
United: Pelling, Cumming-Bart, Cruttwell (Hollobone 76), Rowe, Ray, Walder, Medlock (Harris 81), Adams, Richardson-Brown (Temba 81), Johnson, Cole. Subs not used: Hall, Vickers. Attendance: 346.
Standings (played-points): 1 Folkestone Invicta 15-35, 2 Molesey 17-32, 3 Corinthian-Casuals 17-31, 4 Ramsgate 18-31, 5 South Park 14-28, 6 Worthing 14-27, 7 Dorking Wanderers 16-26, 8 Guernsey 14-26, 9 Three Bridges 15-26, 10 Whyteleafe 17-25, 11 HASTINGS UNITED 13-24, 12 Walton Casuals 16-23, 13 Herne Bay 14-23, 14 Faversham Town 16-23, 15 Carshalton Athletic 16-22, 16 Hythe Town 17-20, 17 Walton & Hersham 16-20, 18 Peacehaven & Telscombe 19-20, 19 Chatham Town 16-18, 20 Sittingbourne 14-18, 21 Tooting & Mitcham United 16-18, 22 East Grinstead Town 13-10, 23 Whitstable Town 17-7, 24 Chipstead 16-5.