Hastings United’s footballers picked up a much-needed home victory tonight (Tuesday).
The U’s triumphed 5-2 at home to 10-man East Grinstead Town in Ryman Football League Division One South to move up four places into the top 10.
United came from behind to lead 2-1 at the break. They extended that advantage to 3-1 and although Grinstead pulled one back, United struck twice more in the final dozen minutes to make sure of the points.
With The Pilot Field pitch again looking remarkably good considering the recent weather, United were on top during the opening 20 minutes and Zac Attwood fired over after Tyrell Richardson-Brown nodded down Ollie Rowe’s cross.
They seemed to lose that initial impetus, though, and Grinstead drew first blood with a superbly worked goal after half-an-hour. A corner was played short towards Hassan Jalloh, who stepped over the ball and Jack Mahoney buried a splendid first time shot inside the near post.
United trailed for just seven minutes. Attwood’s shot was blocked by a Grinstead defender, but Sam Cole was first to the loose ball and drove a low shot into the far corner.
Six minutes later United were ahead. A misdirected pass by a Grinstead defender struck a United player and dropped for Billy Medlock to pick out the bottom corner from approaching 25 yards.
United would’ve hoped to take command after the break, but Grinstead were the better side during the third quarter and Goudy Capela missed the target with the goal at his mercy from Andres Losada-Tobon’s low cross.
United went 3-1 up with a nicely worked goal on the counter-attack in the 67th minute. Tyrell Richardson-Brown won possession and sped off down the right before squaring for Medlock, who allowed the ball to run through for Sam Cruttwell to score United’s 50th league goal of the season with a crisp finish from the edge of the box.
Debutant United goalkeeper Joe Taylor made a smart save from Capela, but Grinstead did get back within one in the 77th minute. Sean Ray was adjudged to have bundled over his man in the United box and Greg Cundle made no mistake with the resulting penalty.
Cundle then tried to wrestle the ball from Taylor’s grasp and an ugly melee ensued. The upshot was bookings for Cundle and Taylor, and a straight red card for Grinstead midfielder Leo Mazzone.
United restored their two-goal cushion in the 83rd minute. Sam Adams let fly with a tremendous left-foot shot from five yards outside the box which left the goalkeeper rooted to the spot.
The impressive Cruttwell rounded-off the scoring in the 89th minute, receiving a pass from Bright Temba and dribbling into the area before driving into the bottom corner.
Temba had a low shot saved in added time at the end of a night where the result was better than the overall performance from a United perspective.
United: Taylor, Rowe, S. Cruttwell (Foster 90), Johnson, Ray, Walder, Medlock (Temba 88), Richardson-Brown (Cumming-Bart 86), Attwood, Adams, Cole. Subs not used: Smith, M. Cruttwell. Attendance: 221.
* Hastings United are running a coach to their game away to Whitstable Town this coming Saturday, departing The Pilot Field at 11.30am.
The cost is £12 for adults, with a £2 discount for supporters’ club members, and £5 for under-18s. Call Dave Russell on 07970 332270 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to save a place.
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