Hastings United pulled off a magnificent victory over Football League opposition tonight (Tuesday).
The U’s came from behind to triumph 2-1 after extra-time away to League Two club Crawley Town in round two of the Parafix Sussex Senior Challenge Cup.
Bright Temba and Sam Adams were on target for United, who play their football four levels below Crawley in Ryman Football League Division One South.
United have now lost only one of their 10 cup matches so far this season, but this success against a Crawley squad containing 15 players who have played in the first team this term was by some distance their best victory of the lot.
What’s more, they did it the hard way because Crawley opened the scoring in the 21st minute. Mitch Hancox delivered a corner to the far post where Jon Ashton headed the ball down for Christian Scales to tap home.
Crawley came close to a second when United defender Jack Walder blocked Shamir Fenelon’s cross and the ball struck the post. United were back level, however, in the 27th minute when Temba mopped up the rebound after a Jack Harris shot was well saved by Callum Preston.
The Crawley goalkeeper then pulled off a fine save to keep out a Harris header, while at the other end, Gavin Tomlin twice came close for the Red Devils as the first half ended 1-1.
There was no further scoring during the second period, although Crawley were whiskers away from restoring their lead when Lee Barnard rattled United’s crossbar with a 25-yard thunderbolt.
Into extra-time the tie went and United goalkeeper Josh Pelling produced a tremendous save to deny Roarie Deacon. He later thwarted the same player again, as well as blocking Tomlin’s close range effort to keep United on level terms.
United grabbed what turned out to be the winner in the 108th minute. Adams headed home a Max Hollobone cross to round-off a wonderful counter-attack in which Tyrell Richardson-Brown was also heavily involved.
Adams almost increased United’s advantage on two occasions only for Preston to pull off splendid stops, including a tip onto the crossbar. Pelling saved from Fenelon right at the end to make sure of United’s place in round three.
United: Pelling, Crabb, Cumming-Bart (Cruttwell), Rowe, Ray, Walder, Richardson-Brown, Hollobone, Harris (Adams), Johnson, Temba. Subs not used: Medlock, Foster, Smith.
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