Hastings United Football Club went second in the table courtesy of an ultimately comfortable home victory tonight (Tuesday).
Two late goals from Daniel Ajakaiye after earlier strikes by Youssuf Bamba and Sam Adams gave Chris Agutter’s side a 4-0 win over Greenwich Borough in the Bostik League South East Division.
Hastings led 1-0 at the end of a richly entertaining and breathless first half, although it could quite easily have been 4-3 as there were chances galore at either end.
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Teshuane Tyreece Walters brought a smart save out of home goalkeeper Charlie Horlock at his near post before Jack Dixon’s powerful header from Bamba’s short corner delivery at the other end was well saved by Greenwich stopper Tom McGill.
Adams’ low shot from distance was fingertipped wide by McGill diving low to his right and moments later Ajakaiye’s shot was brilliantly blocked near the line following a neat interchange with Hastings debutant Lanre Azeez.
Tyreece Walters was denied by a splendid save from Horlock when clean through and the same player delivered a free kick from the Greenwich right which wasn’t far away from creeping inside the far post.
Hastings opened the scoring in the 24th minute. Adams cut out a Greenwich pass midway inside the away half and skipped past an opponent before teeing up Bamba to roll the ball home for his first Hastings goal.
Sam Beale flashed a shot just wide and an Ajakaiye effort was held by McGill, both from outside the area, before Jack Dixon and Ajakaiye had goalbound strikes from inside the box blocked in the same attack.
Greenwich went through on goal for a second time and this time Horlock pushed a Laurent Mendy shot behind for a corner. Horlock then saved at the feet of Theodore Osinfolarin.
After Dixon’s powerful 30-yard strike was well dealt with by McGill, Osinfolarin’s goalbound shot was well blocked by the impressive Adam Lovatt.
Greenwich twice came close in the 40th minute. A terrific strike from the edge of the box by Ollie Bennet was superbly tipped over by Horlock and Mendy’s downward header from the resulting corner bounced up against the crossbar.
After such an open first half between two teams with bags of pace and athleticism, Hastings took control during the second period and Horlock - the match sponsor’s man of the match - didn’t have another shot to save.
Hastings started well after the break and doubled their lead in the 51st minute. Dixon collected a Greenwich clearance on the Hastings left and played the ball inside to Adams, who took a touch to control before burying a fine finish into the bottom corner.
Azeez was thwarted by a last ditch challenge as he bore down on goal following Ajakaiye’s pass and from the resulting corner Bamba’s shot from a tight angle was blocked near the line.
A well-struck Azeez shot from inside the area was blocked and Ajakaiye was denied by McGill following a good run and pass from Beale. At the other end, Solomon Taiwo flashed a free kick just over from a by now rare Greenwich attempt at goal.
Dayshonne Golding had a low shot saved just seconds after coming on for Azeez. He then dragged an effort wide from inside the box and flashed another strike right across the face of goal either side of an Ajakaiye shot on the turn from the edge of the area whistling past the post.
Hastings went three-up in the 89th minute. Adams did well to work space for a left-footed shot which McGill parried low to his left and Ajakaiye tapped in the rebound.
The home side wrapped things up in the second minute of added time. A neat move ended with Adams playing in Ajakaiye to score his second of the night and 19th already this season.
Hastings: Horlock, Mensah, Beale, Climpson, Howlett-Mundle, Dixon (Ibrahim 64), Azeez (Golding 79), Lovatt, Ajakaiye, Adams, Bamba (Walker 83). Subs not used: Christie, Fielding. Attendance: 409.
Bostik League South East Division top half (played-points): 1 Cray Wanderers 10-28 (+19 goal difference), 2 HASTINGS UNITED 8-21 (+14), 3 Phoenix Sports 11-20 (+5), 4 Hythe Town 10-19 (+6), 5 VCD Athletic 10-18 (-1), 6 Whyteleafe 8-15 (+6), 7 Haywards Heath Town 10-15 (+3), 8 Whitstable Town 10-15 (-1), 9 Ramsgate 10-14 (+2), 10 Sittingbourne 10-14 (-1).