Four-star Hastings ease through in FA Trophy
Hastings United's footballers produced another scintillating display in front of their own supporters this afternoon (Saturday).
Jack Harris scored a hat-trick after Harry Stannard's opener as United eased to a 4-0 victory over Aylesbury United in FA Trophy first round qualifying.
Darren Hare's side also went through the 50-goal barrier for the season in seeing off an Aylesbury side which plays at the same level of the non-league pyramid.
United had already struck the crossbar twice before they opened the scoring. Frannie Collin's low drive from just outside the box was unlucky to come back off the inside of the post before a terrific 30-yard strike by Simon Johnson rattled the crossbar.
They finally did break through in the 25th minute immediately after United goalkeeper Lenny Pidgeley had, for the second time in the match, made an important save with his legs.
United broke straight down the other end and after some great work by Harris on the right, Stannard buried a splendid finish into the corner of the net from just inside the box.
One became two just four minutes later. Ollie Rowe got his head to a free kick into the box and Harris lifted the ball into the roof of the net from close range.
Rowe volleyed over at a corner and Aylesbury goalkeeper Zaki Oualah did well to prevent an own goal before United effectively put the tie to bed with a third goal in the 43rd minute.
Matt Bodkin showed good skill to work space for a delightful cross, which Harris converted with a close range downward header.
Collin had a decent opening less than 40 seconds into the second half, but his low shot was gathered by Oualah.
With the sun now out on a mild autumn afternoon, United seemed content to sit back and protect their lead for a while and Pidgeley again had to save with his legs, from Jack Wood's header at a corner.
The again impressive Bodkin lifted his finish beyond the far post having got on the end of Ollie Rowe's long ball forward before the fourth goal arrived in the 68th minute. Stannard's ball across the box deflected into the path of Harris, who applied a simple finish to complete his treble.
There were no further goals after that, although there were several decent attempts. Johnson flashed a volley whiskers wide from just inside the box before Collin brought a spectacular diving save out of Oualah with a 30-yard free kick.
Collin couldn't get enough meat on his close range header following another great cross by Bodkin, while Alex Akrofi's low shot at the end of a good run into the left-hand side of the box was well saved by Oualah.
United have now scored 17 goals in their last three home matches and are simply blowing opposing teams away with some of the best football seen at The Pilot Field in years.
United: Pidgeley, Davies, Cole, Cogan (Pritchard 75), Watt (Cruttwell 65), Rowe, Bodkin, Johnson, Harris (Akrofi 69), Collin, Stannard. Subs not used: Temba, Nicholls. Attendance: 322.
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