Hastings beaten despite leading three times

Jack Harris scored Hastings United's first and third goals in the 4-3 defeat to Corinthian-Casuals. Picture courtesy Scott White
Jack Harris scored Hastings United's first and third goals in the 4-3 defeat to Corinthian-Casuals. Picture courtesy Scott White

Hastings United's footballers were beaten at home after conceding four goals for the second successive Saturday.

United lost 4-3 against Corinthian-Casuals in Ryman Football League Division One South despite leading three times, although they were only ahead for a total of 12 minutes.

Jack Harris was restored to United's starting line-up and was quick to make his presence felt, opening the scoring inside three minutes with a tremendous 25-yard shot which flew over the goalkeeper and into the net.

Casuals were back level, however, just four minutes later. Jordan Clarke latched on to Jamie Byatt's ball down the left before skipping past Richard Davies with ease and squaring for Shaun Okojie to tap home.

That set the pattern for much of the game as United generally had the bulk of the play when the scores were level only for Casuals to come surging back every time they fell behind.

Matt Bodkin had a goal disallowed for offside before restoring United's advantage in the 21st minute. A corner was played back to Bodkin just outside the box and his half-hit shot took a deflection and went in off the post.

Matt Bodkin netted United's second goal and was the match sponsor's man of the match. Picture courtesy Scott White

Matt Bodkin netted United's second goal and was the match sponsor's man of the match. Picture courtesy Scott White

This time Casuals took just three minutes to reply. Josh Uzun's free kick from just outside the D crept inside Lenny Pidgeley's left-hand post for a goal striking similar to the second goal United conceded against Dorking Wanderers seven days previously.

Simon Johnson's crisply-struck 25-yard volley was well held by away goalkeeper Danny Bracken in the only effort of note during the remainder of the first half.

United were on the front foot again at the start of the second period and after Frannie Collin pulled a shot wide, they went ahead once again in the 53rd minute. Kiernan Hughes-Mason's shot was just about saved by Bracken, but Harris forced home the rebound for his second of the afternoon.

Back came Casuals yet again, however. Pidgeley denied Clarke at his near post and then pulled off a superb save diving to his left to repel Ozun's free kick from the edge of the box.

But Clarke's resulting corner to the near post was expertly glanced into the far corner by Jack Strange to make it 3-3 in the 57th minute.

Barry Cogan missed a great chance to put United ahead for a fourth time when he jinked his way into an inviting position only to shoot wide when he seemed more likely to score.

Casuals grabbed the winner in the 79th minute. Bodkin was dispossessed in midfield and the ball was slid through for Okojie to neatly slot past Pidgeley.

United remain 11th in the table, but they are now 16 points behind Casuals, who occupy the final play-off place of fifth, with four games in hand.

United: Pidgeley, Emptage, Thorbourne, Cruttwell, Rowe, Davies, Bodkin, Johnson, Harris (Cogan 68), Collin, Hughes-Mason (Stannard 74). Subs not used: Dickenson, Pritchard, Nicholls. Attendance: 346.

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