Resolute Hastings make it three in a row
Hastings United Football Club achieved its third consecutive win and clean sheet with another hard-earned victory this afternoon (Saturday).
A very well taken first half goal from Sam Adams and another resolute defensive display clinched a 1-0 success at home to Faversham Town in Bostik Football League Division One South.
Hastings manager Chris Agutter made one change to his starting line-up from the FA Trophy victory over Romford the previous Sunday. The fit-again Tom Vickers returned in a central midfield role, with Jack Dixon switching to right-back and John Akoto dropping to the bench.
Faversham had a glorious chance - and what turned out to be their best opening all game - inside the first 70 seconds. Luke Griffiths burst clean through on goal, but home goalkeeper Charlie Horlock pulled off a splendid save and got up quickly to punch the ball to safety.
The visitors went on to dominate possession during the opening 25 minutes, with Hastings frequently clearing their lines only for Faversham to come straight back at them.
Faversham’s only other attempt of note during that time, however, came when Liam King worked space for a shot from the edge of the D which went straight into the arms of Horlock.
Hastings started to see a bit more of the ball during the final 20 minutes of the first half and out of nowhere Sam Cruttwell struck a terrific volley from the right-hand side of the area which was parried by Faversham goalkeeper Simon Overland low to his right.
Hastings grabbed the all-important goal in the 33rd minute. Kenny Pogue held the ball up on the left and laid it inside to Adams, who won the initial tackle with a Faversham opponent and then skipped past the next man before driving low past Overland with his left foot.
In pleasantly warm mid-October sunshine at The Pilot Field, Hastings began the second period on the front foot with young Ollie Black launching some more of his prodigious long throws into the Faversham box.
Faversham gradually began to dominate possession again, but created precious little as Hastings got bodies behind the ball, made themselves difficult to play through and on the whole didn’t look like conceding.
The visitors’ one real chance of the second period came in the 89th minute. Ernest Okoh turned Dixon on the away left and made his way into the area, but shot wide of the near post.
Ryan Cheek sent an overhead kick wide of the far post from a corner during five minutes of added time as Hastings stood firm to take all three points in their first Saturday home fixture since the opening day of the season.
Hastings’ best moment of the second half was in the 83rd minute when Pogue was whiskers away from getting on the end of Davide Rodari’s cross after great work in the build-up by Adams.
Another piece of good news for Hastings, who have moved up three places to 14th in the table, was influential midfielder Simon Johnson playing the final half-an-hour after six weeks out through injury.
Hastings: Horlock, Vickers (Johnson 62), Black, Carey, Whyborne, Rowe, Cruttwell (Rodari 72), Dixon, Pogue (Janneh 85), Adams, Beale. Subs not used: Akoto, Lovatt. Attendance: 339.