United pipped in FA Cup thriller

Danny Ellis scored a 30-yard screamer for Hastings United against Guernsey. Picture by Terry S. Blackman
Danny Ellis scored a 30-yard screamer for Hastings United against Guernsey. Picture by Terry S. Blackman

There will be no repeat of last season’s unforgettable FA Cup adventure after Hastings United were edged out in a first round qualifying thriller this afternoon (Saturday).

The U’s lost 3-2 at home to fellow Ryman Football League Premier Division side Guernsey with the winner coming from a bizarre penalty in the third minute of added time.

Cheered on by a sizeable contingent of travelling supporters, Guernsey took a 12th minute lead. Dom Heaume played in Ross Allen, whose first touch was perfect for him to sweep the ball past Josh Pelling with his second.

United responded well to going behind and levelled in the 27th minute. Bailo Camara got the better of his marker and his low shot across the goalkeeper crept into the far corner despite the best efforts of the man on the line to keep it out.

Matthew Loaring fired into the side-netting having cut in from the left and moments later Allen chipped just wide after United failed to clear a corner. Play quickly broke to the other end where Matt Maclean was denied by Guernsey goalkeeper Chris Tardif after receiving a Kenny Pogue pass.

Guernsey went ahead again in the 45th minute. United were caught napping by a quick free kick, giving Allen the space he needed in the left-hand side of the box to fire a first time shot past Pelling. Marc McGrath missed a good chance to make it three seconds before the half time whistle.

United bossed possession for much of the second half, albeit without much cutting edge in the final third. Camara shot wastefully wide from the one genuine chance the hosts did create having been put through by a lovely ball from Adams.

Loaring shot straight at Pelling at the end of a fine solo run and United restored parity for a second time in the 85th minute thanks to a wonder strike by Danny Ellis from fully 30 yards.

The goal seemed to get Guernsey going again, though. Jamie Dodd flashed a deflected effort just wide from outside the box and substitute Nigel Hutton also went close for the Green Lions.

United gifted their opponents a winner in the 93rd minute. Kwasi Fobi-Edusei inexplicably handled a corner which had sailed over to the far side of the box and the freescoring Allen buried the resulting spot-kick to complete his hat-trick.

There was still time for Adams to have a driven free kick beaten out by Tardif before the Channel Islanders could celebrate a dramatic victory over a United side which deserved a replay.

United (4-4-2): Pelling; Henson, Kelly, Judge, Richardson; Camara (Fobi-Edusei), Darby, Maclean, Ellis; Adams, Pogue (Crone). Subs not used: Olorunda, Corrigan, Gilbert, Shonk, Burbridge. Attendance: 573.