United power into first round of FA Cup

Zac Attwood wheels away in celebration after opening the scoring dh43303q
Zac Attwood wheels away in celebration after opening the scoring dh43303q

HASTINGS United are through to the first round proper of the FA Cup for the first time in 10 years.

The U’s booked their place on the back of a comfortable 3-0 win against lower grade Blackfield & Langley at The Pilot Field.

Goals from Zac Attwood, Bradley Goldberg and player-boss Sean Ray sent the vast majority of the 800-strong crowd home happy.

The draw for the first round will be staged live on ITV1 tomorrow at 1.30pm when Hastings could be pitted against League One opposition such as Sheffield United, Coventry City or Portsmouth.

Hastings dominated for long spells of this fourth qualifying tie but they had a let-off after a quarter-of-an-hour when Ekow Elliott blazed over from the spot after the same player had been brought down in the box by Josh Jirbandey.

The miss was made to look even more crucial just three minutes later as Attwood opened the scoring with a close range finish after Ray had got up highest at a Lee Carey corner.

The home side doubled their advantage through Goldberg’s emphatic finish on 26 minutes following good work between Attwood and Matt Whitehead.

Two goals to the good and the tie was all but over. Hastings played keep ball for much of the rest of the half and Carey tested keeper Steve Mowthorpe from long range.

Hastings made a double substitution at the start of the second half with Tom Vickers and Jono Richardson replacing Jamie Crellin and Whitehead.

Seven minutes into the period and Ray got on the end of another Carey corner and saw his header thump into the net.

Goldberg, Vickers and Dee Okojie all went close to adding to the tally, while Dave Ewan should have pulled a goal back for the Wessex Leaguers but blazed over from close range.

Hastings: Armstrong-Ford, Cox, Whitehead (Richardson 46), Carey, Ray, Jirbandey, Ellis, Crellin (Vickers 46), Goldberg (Dixon 68), Attwood, Okojie. Subs not used: Camara, Patton, Manning. Booked: Richardson. Attendance: 800.