Sean Ray scored his first goals for well over a year as Hastings United’s footballers avoided an FA Cup banana skin this afternoon (Saturday).
Central defender Ray struck twice during the second half to help United clinch a 3-0 win away to lower grade Cray Valley Paper Mills in the preliminary round of the world famous competition.
Jerome Smith had earlier given United a seventh minute with his first senior goal for the club on a day when Ollie Rowe made his second United debut having returned to the country after a spell of coaching and teaching and Thailand.
United lined up in a 3-5-2 formation and were quick to get their noses in front. A Sam Adams corner to the near post was flicked on for Smith to head home from close range.
Tom Vickers headed off the line following a corner at the other end as Ryman Football League Division One South side United led Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division outfit Cray Valley at the break.
Ray doubled United’s advantage in the 63rd minute by nodding home from the last of three corners in quick succession. The same player put the result beyond doubt with another header from another Adams corner seven minutes later.
United did have the ball in the net for a fourth time, again from a corner, but Rowe was penalised for a foul. Cray Valley came close to a late consolation when a header from a corner of their own went whiskers wide.
United’s reward is a home tie against Thatcham Town in first round qualifying on Saturday September 12. Thatcham, who play in the Premier Division of the Hellenic Football League, were 3-2 winners at home to Guildford City this afternoon.
United: Pelling, Crabb, Smith, Rowe, Ray, Walder, Adams, Vickers, Attwood, Harris, Cole. Subs: Hollobone, Hanifan, Temba, Cruttwell, Richardson-Brown, Okoh, Rose.
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!