United held by 10-man South Park

Frannie Collin's ninth goal of the season took him top of Hastings United's scoring charts. Picture courtesy Scott White
Frannie Collin's ninth goal of the season took him top of Hastings United's scoring charts. Picture courtesy Scott White

Hastings United's footballers were held to a 1-1 draw at home to 10-man South Park in the FA Trophy this afternoon (Saturday).

Frannie Collin gave United a half time lead, but they were pegged back by Kieran Lavery's second half equaliser and an eventful second round qualifying tie will go to a replay at South Park on Wednesday night (7.45pm kick-off).

The action was frenetic during a breathless opening quarter on a damp and dreary afternoon at The Pilot Field.

United defender Ollie Rowe saw a close range effort kept out by a vital block and the resulting Sam Cruttwell corner struck the far post. South Park broke straight down the other end and James McElliott was denied by home goalkeeper Lenny Pidgeley when invitingly placed.

United drew first blood somewhat fortuitously in the 13th minute. Cruttwell's lofted ball forward was superbly controlled by Jack Harris, who laid it back for Collin and his shot from just outside the box took a wicked deflection which left goalkeeper James Wastell with no chance.

Harry Stannard headed wide when unmarked at the far post for United from Matt Bodkin's cross, while at the other end, Richard Davies was in the right place to clear Dan Moody's shot from near the line.

Lenny Pidgeley pulled off several fine saves, one of them from a penalty, in the Hastings United goal. Picture courtesy Scott White

Lenny Pidgeley pulled off several fine saves, one of them from a penalty, in the Hastings United goal. Picture courtesy Scott White

United had a huge let-off in the 20th minute when Pidgeley made a brilliant double save to keep out Lavery's penalty and follow-up, and Jerry O'Sullivan hit the post with the third effort from point blank range.

South Park were much-improved from the side beaten 4-1 by United on the opening day of the Ryman League Division One South season and Pidgeley made another good stop from Lavery's angled effort. Moody wasn't far away with a curling effort right on the half time whistle.

United had a great chance to double their advantage in the fifth minute of the second period, but Bodkin shot narrowly wide having been put through by a lovely pass from Simon Johnson.

South Park levelled things up in the 54th minute. Jack Stafford got the better of Sonny Dullaway, a first half replacement for the injured Harris, and his deep cross picked out Lavery, who took a touch to control before rolling the ball into the corner of the net.

The visitors were reduced to 10 men eight minutes later as Jake Gill was shown a straight red card for a bad tackle on Johnson.

United struggled to make the most of their numerical advantage, though, and they were lucky not to fall behind when Lavery rifled a close range volley against the underside of the crossbar. The same player shot just wide minutes later.

United pushed defender Steve Watt up-front to give some more height to the attack and his flick on from Pidgeley's goal kick put Bodkin in, but the winger's finish - with Wastell bearing down on him - went just beyond the far post.

South Park by now seemed content with a draw and United were doing most of the pressing, but there were close calls at either end during seven fairly dramatic minutes of added time.

The excellent Pidgeley firstly had to make a smart reaction save to prevent Rowe scoring an own goal and seconds later at the other end, Bodkin was stopped in his tracks by a crucial last ditch challenge from O'Sullivan.

In the seventh additional minute, another Bodkin effort was blocked by the legs of Wastell and the follow-up from Collin was cleared from near the goal-line.

Both teams will go into the hat for Monday's third round qualifying draw and United's scheduled league game away to Hythe Town on Tuesday will now be played at a later date.

United: Pidgeley, Davies, Cruttwell, Cogan, Watt, Rowe, Bodkin, Johnson (Jarvis 80), Harris (Dullaway 40), Collin, Stannard. Subs not used: Climpson, Nicholls. Attendance: 280.

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