Hastings United Football Club enjoyed a winning start to the new year this afternoon (Saturday).
Two goals in either half gave the U’s a comfortable 4-0 victory away to Peacehaven & Telscombe in their opening Ryman Football League Division One South fixture of 2016.
Third-bottom Peacehaven had conceded 19 goals in losing their previous four matches, and United started firmly on the front foot despite kicking up the slope and into a stiff wind.
Sean Ray’s looping header from a Sam Adams corner dropped just over in the first 75 seconds before the visitors opened the scoring in the eighth minute. Ray’s ball forward was missed by a Peacehaven defender, putting Medlock clean through and the striker confidently slotted past goalkeeper Alieu Secko.
After United’s fast start, Peacehaven started to impose themselves on the game. Josh Marshall’s low shot was gathered by United goalkeeper Matt Cruttwell before Jack Funnell’s corner from the right was diverted against the crossbar not once but twice in a crowded goalmouth.
Ollie Rowe’s low drive was held by Secko, while Ross Sutton shot straight at Cruttwell from an inviting position at the other end. United doubled their advantage in the 29th minute when Cole rounded-off a lovely move involving Zac Attwood and Simon Johnson with a firm drive which clipped the inside of the near post on its way into the net.
Rowe headed wide of the far post from an Adams corner and United then had a great chance to make it 3-0, but Attwood’s shot was blocked on the line by Peacehaven defender Jordan Badger.
After a lively first half, the second half was a quiet affair. With conditions now in their favour, United controlled proceedings and rarely looked in any trouble before adding two more goals in the final quarter-of-an-hour.
Cruttwell held Joshua Street’s low shot on the turn from just outside the box and later was required to deal with Ashley West’s long range effort, while at the other end, Cole’s drive from outside the area flashed just wide and Medlock’s shot was beaten out by Secko at his near post.
United extended their lead with a third goal in the 80th minute. An Adams free kick which swung in on the wind was dropped by Secko and substitute Richardson-Brown flicked the ball home from close range.
Adams shot just wide from outside the area before United completed the scoring in the 86th minute. Cumming-Bart exchanged passes with the excellent Johnson before driving a low left-foot shot just inside the near post.
United had a decent opportunity to have added to their tally in added time, but Bright Temba headed beyond the far post from an Adams free kick.
Although Peacehaven were well beaten, they deserve great credit just for getting the game on after all the rain of the previous few days was compounded by another deluge at lunchtime. Fortunately, it remained dry during the match itself and there was never any danger of the fixture not being completed.
United: M. Cruttwell, Rowe, Wilson, Johnson, Ray, Walder, Medlock (Temba 81), S. Cruttwell (Cumming-Bart 39), Attwood (Richardson-Brown 68), Adams, Cole. Sub not used: Jirbandey.
Ryman Division One South top 14 (played-points): 1 Folkestone Invicta 28-66, 2 Worthing 28-54, 3 Guernsey 29-52, 4 Faversham Town 29-51, 5 Ramsgate 30-49, 6 Dorking Wanderers 27-48, 7 Herne Bay 27-48, 8 Carshalton Athetic 29-48, 9 Whyteleafe 29-48, 10 Molesey 27-45, 11 Corinthian-Casuals 27-45, 12 Hythe Town 28-44, 13 South Park 27-44, 14 HASTINGS UNITED 23-43.
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