Hastings United Football Club suffered a setback in its quest for a play-off place after having to settle for a point this afternoon (Saturday).
The U’s drew 1-1 away to a South Park side which finished the match with nine men and are now three points outside Ryman Football League Division One South’s top five.
United manager Garry Wilson made two enforced changes from Monday’s 6-0 thrashing of Peacehaven & Telscombe, Sam Adams and Tyrell Richardson-Brown replacing suspended pair Simon Johnson and Billy Medlock.
The visitors enjoyed a measure of control over possession during the first half, although there was little in the way of genuine chances at either end.
Richard Davies headed over from an Adams corner and Ollie Rowe couldn’t quite turn home an Adams free kick on the volley at the far post. Sam Cole drove just over from 25 yards, while Rowe’s glancing header from a Sam Cruttwell free kick went beyond the far post.
South Park came closest to scoring before the break when Asa Rixon-Nicholls flicked on Nathan Ayling’s long throw and the ball deflected against the post off United captain Rowe. Kieran Lavery’s shot from 25 yards later flashed wide.
United made a flying start to the second half with a goal after just 90 seconds. Cruttwell picked up possession on the United left and skipped past his man before delivering a dangerous cross which was volleyed into the net by Cole.
South Park goalkeeper James Wastell sustained an injury in the process and had to be substituted, with outfield player Dan Moody taking over the gloves.
United’s lead lasted just six minutes as Lavery’s free kick from the edge of the box made its way into the far bottom corner of Joe Taylor’s net.
The rest of the game was something of a stalemate with neither side really coming close to a winner. Adams fired over from 25 yards, while at the other end, Rixon-Nicholls couldn’t keep his finish down from a Dean Lovegrove corner.
South Park went down to 10 men in the 87th minute when substitute Michael Smith was shown a second yellow card for a foul on Bright Temba. Cruttwell’s resulting free kick flashed across the face of goal with nobody able to apply a killer touch.
The home side had a second player sent-off in the second minute of added time. Jerry O’Sullivan was also shown a second yellow, in his case for a foul on Kevant Serbony by the touchline.
Despite seven minutes of added time, United didn’t threaten a winner having failed to test Moody at all during the 40 or so minutes the outfield player was in goal.
United: Taylor, Davies, Wilson, Adams (Temba 80), Ray, Rowe, Richardson-Brown (Attwood 63), Cruttwell, Cole, Cumming-Bart (Serbony 67), McLean. Subs not used: Smith, Rose.
Ryman Division One South top eight (played-points): 1 Folkestone Invicta 43-105, 2 Dorking Wanderers 42-84, 3 Hythe Town 43-81, 4 Worthing 42-78, 5 Faversham Town 42-77, 6 HASTINGS UNITED 42-74, 7 Corinthian-Casuals 42-73, 8 Molesey 42-73.
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