10-man Hastings dig deep for hard-earned victory
Hastings United's footballers dug deep to clinch a hard-earned win despite playing most of tonight's (Tuesday's) match with 10 men.
United triumphed 1-0 at home to Faversham Town thanks to a 44th minute goal from Frannie Collin, which came just five minutes after Callum Emptage was controversially sent-off.
Darren Hare's side remains 11th in Ryman Football League Division One South, but United are now within 11 points of Carshalton Athletic - who occupy the final play-off place of fifth - with three games in hand.
Hare named the same starting line-up as that which beat second-placed Tooting & Mitcham United 4-0 at the weekend and the game got off to an unusually quiet start compared to the recent goal fests at The Pilot Field.
Matt Bodkin volleyed narrowly wide from just outside the box and United had a penalty shout for handball turned down before Collin twice had the ball in the net only to be flagged offside on both occasions.
The game's big talking point came in the 39th minute. United holding midfielder Emptage saw red for a crunching challenge just a couple of seconds after the referee allowed play to continue following what looked a pretty wild tackle on home captain Simon Johnson.
Perhaps spurred on by a perceived sense of injustice, United swiftly scored the night's only goal and a nicely worked one too. Sam Cruttwell played a lovely ball out to Bodkin on the left and he cut in before crossing for Collin to glance a splendid header just inside the far post.
Despite their numerical disadvantage, United looked fairly comfortable for most of the second period and might even have added to their tally.
Stannard sent a left-foot shot wide of the far post after a good pass inside from Collin and later couldn't quite force the ball home amid a bit of a scramble following Bodkin's cross.
It was only really during the last 10 minutes that Faversham started to threaten and things began to get a bit nervy. But even then home goalkeeper Lenny Pidgeley was only required to make one genuine save, holding a header from substitute Mobolaji Dowadu above his head.
Ryan Cooper slashed just wide after United failed to clear a corner, while in added time, Sam Bewick blazed over from just inside the box and Jamie Maxted's 30-yard free kick flashed just wide of the top corner.
It was a very good defensive display from a United side which seems to have developed a new-found resolve after shipping 13 goals in three games prior to the weekend. Central defenders Ollie Rowe and Cruttwell were in excellent form as United made it back-to-back clean sheets.
United: Pidgeley, Davies, Butcher, Cruttwell, Rowe, Emptage, Bodkin, Johnson, Cogan (Harris 65), Collin, Stannard. Subs not used: Dickenson, Dullaway, Nicholls. Attendance: 330.
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