Hastings pegged back after dream start

Ollie Rowe scored his third goal of the season to give Hastings United a third minute lead against Horsham. Picture courtesy Scott White
Ollie Rowe scored his third goal of the season to give Hastings United a third minute lead against Horsham. Picture courtesy Scott White

Hastings United Football Club had to settle for a draw despite making a dream start to tonight’s (Tuesday’s) match.

Chris Agutter’s side was 2-0 up inside eight minutes away to Horsham, but the Hornets hit back to earn a 2-2 draw in a Bostik Football League Division One South match where all the goals came during the first half.

Hastings remain 15th in the table and they are now unbeaten in their last four league games, three of which have ended in score draws. Horsham, incidentally, Horsham are two points and four places behind them having played a match less.

Agutter made just one change to his starting line-up from the weekend win at Ashford United. The fit-again Sam Adams returned to the midfield, with Davide Rodari dropping to the bench.

Playing on an artificial 3G pitch for the second time in four days, Hastings took less than three minutes to open the scoring. Ollie Rowe finished at the second attempt after a long throw was flicked on by a Horsham head.

One became two just five minutes later. Hastings broke quickly and the ball was crossed in for Calum Davies to score his fifth goal in three games since joining the club a week ago.

The eventful start continued as Horsham pulled one back in the 12th minute. An angled drive struck the base of the post and Dean Bown, who had a brief spell with Hastings earlier this season, turned home the rebound from inside the six yard box as the offside flag stayed down.

Hastings were whiskers away from restoring their two-goal cushion when Dayshonne Golding cut inside and struck the far post.

Soon afterwards, Horsham, who are managed by former Hastings boss Dom Di Paola, levelled in the 40th minute. This time Bown was the provider and George Landais, who also scored in the 3-3 draw between the clubs at The Pilot Field last month, applied the finish.

Agutter brought on Rodari and George Taggart for Janneh and Ollie Black at half time, and Hastings’ ball retention was better during the second period.

Like they had at Ashford on Saturday, Hastings dominated possession during the first 15 minutes of the second half, albeit without really fashioning many goalscoring opportunities.

In the end a bit of a stalemate ensued and the game rather fizzled out as the teams again shared the spoils.

Hastings are certainly improving, but they need to cut out the mistakes which are leading to them conceding cheap goals.

Hastings: Horlock, Rowe, Black (Taggart), Lovatt, Whyborne (Pogue), Climpson, Golding, Adams, Davies, Janneh (Rodari), Cruttwell. Subs not used: Pritchard, Sotoyinbo. Attendance: 144.