Hastings United’s footballers struck twice in the final quarter-of-an-hour to win an entertaining and see-saw cup tie.
The U’s came from 2-1 down to triumph 3-2 at home to Hythe Town in round one of the Ryman Football League’s Robert Dyas Cup tonight (Tuesday).
United’s starting line-up contained just four players who began the weekend league game against Chatham Town as manager Garry Wilson took the opportunity to give some valuable game time to other members of his squad.
Bright Temba steered his volley wide following a Tom Vickers ball over the top before United drew first blood with a stunning goal in the seventh minute. Sam Adams scored with a tremendous 25-yard shot which lodged in the stanchion - a rare but beautiful sight for any attacking player.
Hythe striker Shaun Welford saw a well-struck left-foot shot from outside the box beaten away by United goalkeeper Josh Pelling, who then saved Sam Brown’s deflected 25-yard shot low to his right.
Adams’ looping header from a Liam Wilson cross dropped just wide, but Hythe equalised in the 40th minute. A good cross from the left by Welford was met with an equally good James Morrish header.
United were the better side during the second half, although it was Hythe who struck next 10 minutes after the break. Welford went from provider to scorer with a low left-foot volley after a right wing cross dropped to him in the box.
The home side - who have picked up five more points than their opponents from the opening three league matches - came close to an almost instant equaliser when Tyrell Richardson-Brown’s shot was blocked on the line.
United got in behind the Hythe defence on a number of occasions, but the final ball invariably didn’t find its intended target. On one occasion when it did, Temba’s low cross was lifted over the crossbar by the sliding Alan Foster from inside the six yard box.
Pelling breathed a sigh of relief when his attempted kick downfield hit Welford and rebounded just wide. At the other end, Adams was denied by goalkeeper Roddy Hayward after he latched on to a Jack Harris flick and cut inside the last defender.
That was only a temporary reprieve for Hythe, however, because United deservedly equalised in the 80th minute. Harris rolled the ball to his right for the impressive Temba to drill a low shot past Hayward.
The tie would have gone to penalties had the scores remained level after 90 minutes, but United grabbed a winner in the 85th minute. Liam Foster was upended by Hayward barely a couple of minutes after coming on as a substitute and Adams drove home the resulting penalty despite the goalkeeper getting a touch on it.
United: Pelling, Jibodu, Wilson, Hanifan, Ray, Vickers (Harris 63), Adams, A. Foster (L. Foster 82), Richardson-Brown (Holden 77), Temba, Cruttwell. Subs not used: Hollobone, Crabb. Attendance: 221.
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