Hastings United’s footballers suffered a seventh defeat in their last 10 matches with a 1-0 loss away to Folkestone Invicta this afternoon (Saturday).
United were beaten by a 40th minute goal against fourth-placed opposition in Ryman Football League Division One South having earlier had a penalty saved.
Ade Olorunda returned to the starting line-up in place of fellow striker Evan Archibald in United’s only change from the previous weekend’s 2-2 draw at home to Three Bridges.
The first half was relatively even with few goalscoring opportunities. Sam Adams sent a 25-yard free kick over the home crossbar, while Jordan Wright sliced wide at the other end in both sides’ first real openings.
United then had a glorious chance to draw first blood at the scene of their play-off semi-final defeat last season. Adams was fouled by former United player Ronnie Dolan inside the box, but the usually reliable Adams saw his penalty saved by Tim Roberts low to his left.
Roberts had little else to do and Matt Newman volleyed over for Folkestone from the edge of the area before grabbing what proved to be the winner with a cool finish from a pass by fellow midfielder Dolan.
Folkestone performed strongly during the second period and ought to have won more comfortably than they did. Richard Atkins pulled his shot well wide from an inviting position as Folkestone started the half in dominant fashion.
United goalkeeper Josh Pelling kept out a bobbling shot from Ian Draycott, who then blazed over from 10 yards having been released by Dolan. Pelling was again called into action, this time with a splendid save to deny Atkins.
Liam Foster came off the substitutes’ bench for his United debut and Steve Brinkhurst’s cross from the right struck Folkestone’s far post, but on the whole United lacked a creative spark.
Olorunda’s shot at the end of a fine forward raid caused Roberts few problems, while at the other end, Frankie Chappell’s header from a Dolan corner was saved by Pelling and Draycott blasted over as Folkestone completed the double over United without conceding a goal.
United: Pelling, Hanifan, R. Rose, Holden (Foster), Ray, Hause, Brinkhurst, T. Olorunda, A. Olorunda, Adams, Hassan (Pogue). Subs not used: Dixon, Robertson, D. Rose. Attendance: 326.
Standings (played-points): 1 Burgess Hill Town 31-81, 2 Faversham Town 35-74, 3 Merstham 35-70, 4 Folkestone Invicta 33-67, 5 Whyteleafe 34-56, 6 Worthing 34-55, 7 Whitstable Town 35-51, 8 Herne Bay 35-51, 9 Chipstead 35-48, 10 Guernsey 33-46, 11 Three Bridges 33-46, 12 Tooting & Mitcham United 35-45, 13 Carshalton Athletic 33-43, 14 Sittingbourne 35-42, 15 Walton & Hersham 34-40, 16 South Park 29-39, 17 Hythe Town 33-37, 18 Corinthian-Casuals 29-37, 19 Walton Casuals 34-37, 20 HASTINGS UNITED 34-35, 21 East Grinstead Town 35-34, 22 Redhill 32-32, 23 Ramsgate 35-31, 24 Horsham 35-30.