Hastings United’s footballers contested a third draw in their last four home games this afternoon (Saturday).
The U’s came from behind to draw 1-1 against Sittingbourne in a lively Ryman Football League Division One South contest thanks to Tyrell Richardson-Brown’s first goal for the club.
United gave first starts to left-back Luke Turner and left-sided player Jack McLean, and will feel they ought to have been ahead at the break having had the better of a goalless first half on a sunny but breezy afternoon at The Pilot Field.
The returning Sam Adams forced a low save out of Sittingbourne goalkeeper Adam Molloy with a 30-yard free kick. Ade Olorunda had a shot brilliantly cleared off the line following a great run by McLean and another effort saved by Molloy in the same attack.
Olorunda later struck a 25-yard shot straight at Molloy, while right at the end of the half, McLean drilled a low effort from outside the box just wide and then hit the side-netting from a tight angle.
Sittingbourne fielded former United players Jono Richardson and Olalekan Bankole in their starting line-up, and Bankole put one attempt over the crossbar and had another blocked by his own man. Tom Brunt’s 25-yard strike was held by United goalkeeper Josh Pelling.
Both sides had chances during a very watchable second half. Sittingbourne carried far more threat than they had before the break and Harry Smith’s shot from outside the box was comfortably saved by Pelling, who then gathered Bankole’s cross-shot.
Having survived a scramble from a Turner corner, Sittingbourne broke straight down the other end and had a great chance to open the scoring, but Smith failed to make telling contact with Miles Cornwell’s cut-back.
Sittingbourne might have missed out on that occasion, but they took the lead on the hour. Cornwell skipped past Turner too easily and picked out the far corner with a good finish from the right-hand side of the box.
United responded well, however. Evan Archibald came close to an instant reply when heading McLean’s left wing cross just wide of the near post, Olorunda volleyed straight at Molloy from an Adams corner and Sean Ray’s header at the near post from a Turner corner flew just wide.
Ray must have thought he had his first goal of the season with another header from a Turner corner only for Molloy to pull off a superb diving save. Moments later Molloy denied a clean through McLean, who looked bright on his debut.
United finally broke through in the 81st minute and a fine goal it was too. Yet another Turner corner was met by a spectacular scissors kick from Richardson-Brown for United’s first goal in just under 270 minutes.
Pelling made a smart save to his left from Cornwell and tipped Bankole’s follow-up onto the crossbar with the offside flag up, while Adams and Richardson-Brown had sights of goal at the other end.
Right on 90 minutes Sittingbourne substitute Adam Williams went whiskers wide of the far post after Cornwell had rounded Pelling and pulled the ball back.
United: Pelling, Brinkhurst, Turner, Holden (Willett 71), Ray, Rose, Richardson-Brown, Adams, A. Olorunda, Archibald (Maclean 71), McLean. Subs not used: Hanifan, Gordon, Foster. Attendance: 390.
Standings (played-points): 1 Burgess Hill Town 34-90, 2 Faversham Town 37-80, 3 Folkestone Invicta 36-72, 4 Merstham 37-71, 5 Whyteleafe 37-60, 6 Worthing 37-59, 7 Herne Bay 38-58, 8 Whitstable Town 38-57, 9 Guernsey 37-52, 10 Three Bridges 37-52, 11 Tooting & Mitcham United 37-49, 12 Chipstead 37-48, 13 Hythe Town 37-46, 14 Corinthian-Casuals 33-45, 15 Carshalton Athletic 36-44, 16 Walton & Hersham 38-44, 17 South Park 32-43, 18 Sittingbourne 36-43, 19 Walton Casuals 37-38, 20 HASTINGS UNITED 38-37, 21 East Grinstead Town 37-37, 22 Redhill 35-34, 23 Ramsgate 37-34, 24 Horsham 38-30.