Hastings United Football Club scored an added time equaliser while down to 10 men to salvage a point this afternoon (Saturday).
Dayjohonne Gelding netted a 91st minute goal on his debut to earn a 1-1 draw away to bottom-of-the-table Shoreham in Bostik League Division One South.
Gelding went straight into the starting line-up, which also included the fit-again Sam Beale, but Hastings were forced into a last minute change as Tom Vickers picked up an ankle injury in the warm-up and was replaced by Ollie Black.
It was a landmark afternoon for Sam Adams, who made his 400th appearance in a Hastings shirt.
On a grassy and rather stodgy pitch, Hastings had most of the ball during the first half but struggled to turn possession into goalscoring opportunities.
Hastings fell behind in the 43rd minute after needlessly conceding a penalty. Shoreham number five Odofin O’Niel made his way into the box and was bundled over from behind, giving Sean Roddy the chance to put Shoreham ahead with the resulting spot-kick.
The visitors were whiskers away from an instant response as Jack Dixon thundered a shot against the crossbar in Hastings’ only really decent effort of the opening period.
Hastings came out for the second half and looked much the stronger side as they began to string some passes together. Sam Cruttwell had an excellent game and was causing Shoreham all sorts of problems.
Although nowhere near their best, you sensed a Hastings equaliser was coming. And it would have done had Shoreham goalkeeper James Broadbent not produced brilliant reflex saves to deny Ollie Rowe, Tahjae Anderson and Kenny Pogue, who almost scored with his first touch.
Hastings’ task of getting back into the match became that much more difficult as Dixon was shown a straight red card after clashing with an opponent in the 79th minute. A 22-man melee then broke out which resulted in a yellow card for a Shoreham player.
Despite being a man down, Hastings continued to press. Shoreham had a chance to finish it, but George Gaskin missed the target with only goalkeeper Charlie Horlock to beat.
Shortly afterwards, Hastings conjured up the equaliser. Cruttwell made a lovely run down the left and passed inside to Anderson, whose shot came off a defender for Gelding to fire into the bottom corner from the edge of the box. He became Hastings’ 15th different scorer this season.
There was still time for Gelding, who had a decent game, to pick up a yellow card after another melee broke out before the final whistle sounded.
Although pleased in the end to have avoided defeat, Hastings - who are now 17th in the table with 16 points from 15 matches - will feel it was a game they should have won and they will need to perform better at home to fourth-placed Cray Wanderers on Tuesday night.
Hastings: Horlock, Rowe, Beale, Dixon, Whyborne, Black (Pogue 75), Rodari (Sotoyinbo 85), Adams (Anderson 75), Gelding, Janneh, Cruttwell. Subs not used: Lovatt. Attendance: 199.