Hastings United’s footballers made it back-to-back wins with a 2-0 victory at home to Tooting & Mitcham United this afternoon (Saturday).
Second half strikes by Tyrell Richardson-Brown and Zac Attwood gave United three more important points in their quest for a Ryman Football League Division One South play-off spot, although the result was spoiled somewhat by a late red card for Jack Walder.
On an extremely windy and often drizzly afternoon at The Pilot Field, United started brightly and bossed the opening 10 minutes. Simon Johnson had a shot beaten out by Tooting goalkeeper Sheikh Ceesay in the first 55 seconds and Richardson-Brown volleyed the rebound wide.
United gradually lost their initial impetus and Tooting, who were playing into the wind, started to threaten. The best opportunity of the first half fell to Tooting when Jake Baxter went through on goal and United goalkeeper Harry Girling pulled off a splendid save low to his right.
Girling also saved Baxter’s firm low drive from the edge of the area and Baxter pulled an angled shot well wide of the far post. At the other end, Liam Wilson miskicked Richardson-Brown’s cutback from an inviting position as a fairly even first half ended goalless.
Tooting were on the front foot at the start of the second period and Jordan Wilson hit the outside of United’s post with a cross-cum-shot from near the byeline. Attwood then saw a header comfortably saved for United and seconds later drove just wide of the near post.
United took the lead with a terrific goal on the counter-attack in the 58th minute. Chris Cumming-Bart dribbled his way out of defence and played a good ball through to Richardson-Brown, who rounded the goalkeeper and kept his head to slot into the net.
The U’s took charge thereafter and doubled their advantage 12 minutes later. Richardson-Brown pressured a Tooting defender into a loose pass and Attwood turned Antonio Simeone before coolly stroking the ball past Ceesay.
Richardson-Brown had a great chance to make it 3-0, but poked the ball over with just Ceesay to beat. United captain Ollie Rowe then struck the crossbar with a looping header after a Sam Adams corner was met by Sean Ray.
Tooting started to cause one or two problems in the latter stages and their best moment ended with Gavin Quintyne’s low shot after a good run and pass by Wilson being comfortably saved.
With the game effectively won, United defender Walder was shown a straight red card - on the linesman’s intervention - deep into added time after Baxter was left in a heap off the ball. It was Walder’s third dismissal of the season and he is likely therefore to face an extended ban.
United: Girling, Rowe, Wilson, Johnson (Foster 89), Ray, Walder, Richardson-Brown (Temba 90+2), Cumming-Bart, Attwood (Smith 90+3), Adams, Cruttwell. Subs not used: Cole, Rose. Attendance: 374.
Ryman Division One South top half (played-points): 1 Folkestone Invicta 35-83, 2 Dorking Wanderers 36-70, 3 Worthing 35-68, 4 Ramsgate 36-61, 5 Faversham Town 35-61, 6 Herne Bay 35-60, 7 Corinthian-Casuals 35-60, 8 HASTINGS UNITED 31-59, 9 Hythe Town 33-59, 10 Guernsey 36-58, 11 Molesey 33-55, 12 Carshalton Athletic 36-55.
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