Hastings strike late to salvage point

Ollie Rowe's fifth goal of the season earned Hastings United a 1-1 draw away to VCD Athletic. Picture courtesy Scott White
Ollie Rowe's fifth goal of the season earned Hastings United a 1-1 draw away to VCD Athletic. Picture courtesy Scott White

A 90th minute goal from Ollie Rowe extended Hastings United Football Club’s unbeaten run to four matches this afternoon (Saturday).

Rowe’s late strike earned Hastings a 1-1 draw away to VCD Athletic in a Bostik League Division One South match which, rather like the draw at South Park on Tuesday, they dominated for long periods but were again unable to finish many of the chances they created.

Sinnkaye Christie made his first start and Antonio Walker his second for a Hastings side without the unavailable Dayshonne Golding and an unwell Adam Lovatt. Ansu Janneh returned to the starting XI, while Tom Climpson dropped to a very youthful substitutes’ bench.

On a cold and damp afternoon in south east London, Hastings carved out a number of opportunities during a first half which somehow ended goalless when the visitors ought to have been clearly ahead.

Calum Davies couldn’t find the net from Davide Rodari’s cross when inside the six yard box and then missed when one-on-one with VCD goalkeeper Joe Mant.

Davies struck the crossbar when clean through and Rodari was denied by a splendid save before Hastings almost fell behind on the stroke of half time.

Hastings goalkeeper Charlie Horlock and midfielder Jack Dixon hobbled off as the players left the field at the break, and although they both came out for the second period, Dixon - who was having quite a decent game - was replaced by George Taggart just five minutes in.

Hastings continued to press during the second period and spurned further opportunities, although Mant pulled off a number of good saves in addition to several defensive blocks.

Rodari was again foiled by Mant, while Davies again went clean through and this time beat the goalkeeper with his shot only for a covering defender to clear.

VCD enjoyed their best spell of the match in the closing quarter-of-an-hour. Horlock produced a superb save and VCD went close on several other occasions in quick succession before taking an 85th minute lead through Aymun El-Moyhalbel.

Hastings kept on battling, though, and although Davies failed to convert a further opportunity having done well to fashion it in the first place, defender Rowe came up with a fine finish to ensure honours ended even.

Hastings dropped a place to 10th in the table, but are only a point behind Whyteleafe in eighth and the club is very encouraged by the way the team is playing and developing.

Hastings: Horlock, Rowe, Beale, Adams, Christie, Cruttwell, Rodari, Dixon (Taggart 51), Davies, Janneh, Walker (Kieran 70). Subs not used: Climpson, Pritchard, Greig. Attendance: 81.

Bostik League Division One South top half (played-points): 1 Lewes 32-68, 2 Cray Wanderers 33-66, 3 Carshalton Athletic 32-65, 4 Greenwich Borough 32-64, 5 Walton Casuals 33-63, 6 Corinthian-Casuals 33-63, 7 Phoenix Sports 33-51, 8 Whyteleafe 33-50, 9 Hythe Town 32-50, 10 HASTINGS UNITED 33-49, 11 Horsham 33-45, 12 Thamesmead Town 31-44.

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