Hastings United's footballers celebrated their biggest win of the season as they thrashed Guernsey 6-1 at The Pilot Field this afternoon (Saturday).
Frannie Collin netted a hat-trick, including a pair of penalties, and Matt Bodkin bagged a brace in what turned out to be a one-sided Ryman Football League Division One South fixture.
Collin had a couple of attempts at goal before United opened the scoring in the 21st minute. Richard Davies picked out Bodkin with a good ball over the top and the wide midfielder cut inside onto his left foot before unleashing a shot which took a slight deflection on its way into the far corner.
United initially looked comfortable after taking the lead, but Guernsey then started to come back into it. Home goalkeeper Ryan Nicholls dived to his left to clutch a header at a corner and moments later at the other end, Collin's shot was saved by the legs of Guernsey stopper Chris Tardif.
Guernsey thought they had equalised when Marc McGrath knocked home Ross Allen's ball across goal from close range only to be denied by the offside flag.
United were gifted a second goal against the run of play in the 42nd minute. Guernsey defender Alex Le Provost left his back pass woefully short and Collin rounded Tardif before tapping into an empty net.
It was one-way traffic after that as United simply blew away their opponents from the Channel Islands with a dominant display.
Barry Cogan sent a looping header just over in the first 35 seconds of the second half, Harry Stannard was denied by the legs of Tardif after a lovely Simon Johnson backheel and Stephen Butcher shot wide of the far post from the edge of the box.
United went three-up with a beautifully-worked goal in the 54th minute. Ollie Rowe played a long ball out to Bodkin on the right and he skipped past his man before pulling the ball back to Cogan, who turned in the area before slotting past Tardif.
Stannard brought a diving save out of the away goalkeeper before United made it 4-0 in the 59th minute. Collin sent Tardif the wrong way from the penalty spot having been brought down by Simon Geall, who was shown a straight red card for the foul.
Six minutes later it was 5-0. Butcher drove into the box before rolling the ball back to the excellent Bodkin, who worked space for a shot which he fired into the corner of the net via the far post.
After Johnson shot straight at Tardif from the edge of the area, United added a sixth in the 71st minute. Collin was tripped by Jack Domaille in the left-hand side of the box and again sent Tardif the wrong way with the resulting penalty.
Kyle Smith shot just wide for Guernsey, who nabbed a consolation in the 85th minute. Allen struck the crossbar with a terrific shot from 25 yards and Matt Loaring squared the loose ball for Ryan-Zico Black to tap home.
United had a couple of opportunities for a seventh goal thereafter, but Jack Harris couldn't beat Tardif in a one-on-one situation and fellow substitute Bradley Pritchard shot straight at the goalkeeper after a neat exchange of passes.
The result moves United up to 13th in the table and they have games in hand on every other club. They are nine points adrift of Cray Wanderers - who occupy the final play-off spot of fifth - having played three fewer matches.
United: Nicholls, Butcher, Cole (Pritchard 66), Cogan, Davies, Rowe, Bodkin, Johnson, Akrofi (Cruttwell HT), Collin, Stannard (Harris 60). Subs not used: Watt, Temba. Attendance: 315.
See our comprehensive sports coverage in the Observer every Friday.
Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.
Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be amongst the first to know what’s going on.
1 Make this website your homepage
2 Like our Facebook page at facebook.com/pages/Sport-Sussex
3 Follow us on Twitter @SportSussex
4 Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.
And do share with your family and friends - so they don’t miss out!