Despite having less than 48 hours to recover from their previous game, Hastings United’s footballers picked up a win and a clean sheet this afternoon (Saturday).
Goals in the final half-an-hour from Chris Cumming-Bart and Ollie Rowe gave United a 2-0 victory at home to Whyteleafe, and took them up to the 70-point mark in Ryman Football League Division One South.
Sixth-placed United are one position and two points outside the play-off spots with at least one game in hand on all of the teams around them.
United gave a debut to another new signing Richard Davies, who has joined from Chatham Town, and Liam Wilson returned to a starting line-up containing two changes from Thursday night’s 1-1 draw at Hythe Town, both in the full-back positions.
The first half on a chilly afternoon at The Pilot Field was a pretty forgettable affair of relatively few chances. United captain Ollie Rowe had a couple of headed efforts from early Sam Adams corners, one of which was held by Whyteleafe goalkeeper Adam Highsted above his head and the other sailed over the crossbar.
Billy Medlock whipped a shot just over after Zac Attwood beat his man on the United right and Attwood later saw a drive beaten out by Highsted at his near post following a good move involving the impressive Jack McLean and Adams.
At the other end, Sam Clayton’s shot from 30 yards was tipped over by home goalkeeper Joe Taylor, who also gathered a free kick from the same player.
Whyteleafe had two glorious chances to draw first blood in the first seven minutes of the second half. Both of them fell to striker Roscoe D’Sane, who firstly missed a sitter from Sam Clements’ ball across goal and was then denied by a fine save from Taylor when clean through.
The visitors offered precious little as an attacking force thereafter as United got top for the final 35 minutes despite their efforts just a couple of days previously.
Cumming-Bart was just too high with an angled drive and Attwood volleyed over from inside the box, while two Sean Ray headers from successive Adams corners ricocheted around in the six yard box before being cleared.
The breakthrough arrived in the 67th minute. Man of the match McLean beat his man on the home left and pulled the ball back for Attwood, whose goalbound effort was blocked. The ball rebounded out to the edge of the box where Cumming-Bart fired a left-foot shot on the turn into the far corner.
Adams and Sam Cruttwell were narrowly off target from distance, and Medlock was denied by Highsted when one-on-one after some great work by Cruttwell.
United killed the game off with a second goal in the 82nd minute. Highsted could only parry Cumming-Bart’s shot from just outside the area low to his right and Rowe forced home the rebound at the second attempt.
An Adams cross from the left struck the crossbar before Rowe seemed certain to add a third goal only to see his shot from inside the six yard box blocked on the line by Tommy Smith.
United: Taylor, Davies, Wilson, Cumming-Bart, Ray, Rowe, Medlock (Richardson-Brown 85), Adams, Attwood (Temba 86), Serbony (Cruttwell 58), McLean. Subs not used: Johnson, Smith. Attendance: 359.
Ryman Division One South top 10 (played-points): 1 Folkestone Invicta 40-96, 2 Dorking Wanderers 40-80, 3 Worthing 39-74, 4 Faversham Town 40-73, 5 Hythe Town 39-72, 6 HASTINGS UNITED 38-70, 7 Herne Bay 39-69, 8 Corinthian-Casuals 40-67, 9 Molesey 39-67, 10 Ramsgate 39-64.
Highlights courtesy Dan Willett.
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