Hastings United stay second despite defeat to Haywards Heath Town

Sam Adams scored his ninth goal of the season in Hastings United's 2-1 loss away to Haywards Heath Town. Picture courtesy Scott White
Sam Adams scored his ninth goal of the season in Hastings United's 2-1 loss away to Haywards Heath Town. Picture courtesy Scott White

Hastings United Football Club clung on to second place despite suffering a third successive defeat this afternoon (Saturday).

Chris Agutter’s side saw a second half lead disappear as it was beaten 2-1 away to Haywards Heath Town in the Bostik League South East Division.

Hastings are ahead of third-placed Horsham and fourth-placed Haywards Heath on goal difference, and are only two points better off than sixth-placed Whyteleafe.

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The visitors, who were without leading scorer Daniel Ajakaiye and defender Tom Climpson through suspension, would’ve returned home ruing the second half chances they missed to have extended their lead before Heath turned the game on its head.

There was plenty of industry, but little in the way of genuine goalscoring opportunities during a goalless first half in which both defences were on top.

Hastings came out of the blocks very quickly at the start of the second period and opened the scoring with a beautifully-worked goal in the 49th minute.

A delightful flick from Adam Lovatt freed Jack Dixon in the right-hand side of the home penalty area and he squared for the unmarked Adams to score from eight yards.

Hastings could well have gone further ahead in the next quarter-of-an-hour, but Sam Beale was denied by Heath goalkeeper Joshua Heyburn, Youssouf Bamba’s touch was too heavy when through and Antonio Walker broke through only to take a touch too many.

Heath also went close during that phase of the contest as Alex Laing curled a free kick over the defensive wall and against the far post.

Hastings seemed to sit back a bit and Heath levelled in the 68th minute. A loose ball in the visiting penalty area was rifled into the net by Karl Akehurst.

Laing sent a free kick just over before scoring what appeared a fortunate winner in the 84th minute. What looked like a cross to the far post held up on the wind and dropped in via the underside of the crossbar.

Bamba, who was a nightmare for the home defence, and Adams were particularly impressive for a Hastings side now winless in five matches in all competitions.

Hastings: Horlock, Mensah (Fielding 73), Beale, Tucker, Howlett-Mundle, Cruttwell, Lovatt, Adams (Ogboe 81), Walker, Bamba, Dixon. Subs not used: Ibrahim, Azeez, Curran. Attendance: 164.

Bostik League South East Division top half (played-points): 1 Cray Wanderers 15-39 (+22 goal difference), 2 HASTINGS UNITED 15-28 (+13), 3 Horsham 14-28 (+12), 3 Haywards Heath Town 16-28 (+8), 5 Hythe Town 15-27 (+7), 6 Whyteleafe 15-26 (+14), 7 Ashford United 15-24 (+8), 8 Phoenix Sports 16-24 (+4), 9 VCD Athletic 14-22 (+2), 10 Sevenoaks Town 15-21 (0).