Hastings United’s footballers suffered their first home league defeat for more than two months this afternoon (Saturday).
The U’s were beaten 3-2 at home to Dorking Wanderers in Ryman Football League Division One South having left themselves too much to do after trailing 2-0 and 3-1.
Billy Medlock and Tyrell Richardson-Brown were on target for a United side which had won its previous two matches against Walton Casuals and Peacehaven & Telscombe without conceding a goal.
United had more of the possession and territory during the first half, but were uninspired going forward and created next to nothing. Their best moment of the opening 45 minutes came when Medlock headed over a Sam Adams corner from close range.
On their first ever trip to The Pilot Field, Dorking led at the break thanks to a 17th minute goal by Ben Dyett, who headed home a terrific right wing cross from close range.
United showed more urgency at the start of the second period, but Dorking - sporting surely some of the brightest shirts ever seen on a football pitch - were fashioning the chances. Tom Tolfrey shot just beyond the far post and moments later Matt Briggs was narrowly off target at the end of a driving run from the left.
Having come close on that occasion, Briggs doubled Dorking’s lead in similar fashion in the 57th minute. After getting the better of Richardson-Brown out wide on the Dorking left, Briggs drove forward and buried a low 20-yard drive into the corner of the net.
The game’s big talking point occurred 20 minutes into the half. Richardson-Brown used his pace to get on the end of a good ball from Medlock and was brought down by Dorking goalkeeper Gary Ross just outside the box. Ross escaped with a yellow card - to the dismay of much of the crowd - and Medlock drove the resulting free kick over the top.
Medlock got United back into it in the 69th minute, running clear of the Dorking defence and placing a low shot beyond Ross for his ninth United goal of the season.
United couldn’t build any momentum, though, and Dorking restored their two-goal cushion 10 minutes later. Ross picked out Briggs on the Dorking left with a long kick and Briggs again cut in before unleashing a shot which squirmed through United goalkeeper Matt Cruttwell and dribbled just over the line.
Medlock wasn’t far away from the far corner with a curling effort and Jack Walder had a shot blocked before United again halved their deficit in the 88th minute. Richardson-Brown eventually turned the ball home after Adams, Zac Attwood and Cole had all seen shots blocked or saved.
But despite six minutes of added time on an afternoon of blustery showers, United never really threatened an equaliser. The closest they came was an Attwood header which bounced up into the hands of Ross.
A minute’s silence was observed before kick-off in memory of Ken Cherry and Brian Suckling, the respective chairmen of Little Common and Peacehaven & Telscombe who died during the previous few days.
United: M. Cruttwell, Rowe, Wilson (S. Cruttwell 68), Johnson, Ray, Walder, Medlock, Cumming-Bart (Richardson-Brown 54), Attwood, Adams, Cole. Subs not used: Temba, Jirbandey, Smith. Attendance: 361.
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