Hastings United Football Club returned to winning ways with a high scoring away victory this afternoon (Saturday).
Chris Agutter’s side put a stop to back-to-back Bostik League Division One South defeats by winning 4-2 in a highly entertaining game against Thamesmead Town.
Calum Davies (2), Sam Cruttwell and Sam Adams were on target as Hastings triumphed in wet and muddy conditions at the home of National League South title hopefuls Dartford.
Both sides should take great great credit from how they performed in very difficult conditions. The match was played at a lightning pace, and there was lots of one-touch football and rumbustious challenges in an old fashioned encounter.
Hastings were the better team over the 90 minutes, particularly during a first half which they dominated for long spells but only had a single-goal lead to show for their endeavours.
That goal was a terrific one, though. From around five yards outside the box to the right of goal, Cruttwell lifted a free kick over the wall and into the bottom corner, giving the goalkeeper no chance.
With the excellent Adams not putting a foot wrong, Hastings carved out a few other opportunities before the break. Early on Adams had a shot tipped wide and headed over from a Sam Beale free kick, while Davies brought a fingertip save out of Thamesmead goalkeeper Lewis Carey.
Thamesmead were restricted really to long range efforts during the first half, with the Hastings back four performing very well despite the slippery surface.
The hosts gave as good as they got during the second period and the opening 10 or 15 minutes were difficult for Hastings, who needed a couple of interventions from goalkeeper Charlie Horlock to preserve their advantage.
Two goals within four minutes of each other, however, gave Hastings a firm grip on the contest. They went 2-0 up in the 58th minute when an Adams shot was deflected in by Davies.
Then in the 61st minute, Adams made it 3-0 from the penalty spot after Davies, who had a decent game and caused lots of problems for the home defence, was brought down in the box.
It should really have been game over at that point, but Thamesmead then started piling on the pressure and it became quite backs-to-the-wall for Hastings. Thamesmead pulled one back in the 68th minute when Laurent Mendy fired through a crowd of players into the bottom corner.
Hastings went straight up the other end to restore their three-goal cushion, Davies getting his toe to a ball into the danger area and sending it past Carey.
Thamesmead fired over from a free kick on the edge of the area and Horlock produced a reaction save before the home side got back to 4-2 with an 84th minute goal from Paul Vines.
Hastings substitute Kenny Pogue had a couple of one-on-one opportunities in the latter stages, but shot well wide from one of them and the other was saved by Carey at point blank range.
The result lifted Hastings, for whom Beale had an excellent game, up three places to ninth in the table. Their next action is at home to Molesey on Saturday January 27.
Hastings: Horlock, Rowe, Beale, Lovatt, Climpson, Cruttwell, Rodari, Adams, Davies (Pogue), Dixon, Golding (Walker). Subs not used: Pritchard, Janneh, Ajakaiye, Pogue.
Bostik League Division One South top half (played-points): 1 Lewes 30-66, 2 Cray Wanderers 31-65, 3 Carshalton Athletic 30-61, 4 Walton Casuals 31-59, 5 Greenwich Borough 30-58, 6 Corinthian-Casuals 31-57, 7 Phoenix Sports 31-50, 8 Hythe Town 30-47, 9 HASTINGS UNITED 30-44, 10 Whyteleafe 30-43, 11 South Park 25-42, 12 Sittingbourne 30-42.
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