Three and easy for Hastings
Hastings United's footballers eased to their third league win of the season this afternoon (Saturday).
Second half strikes from Jay May, Harry Stannard and Matt Bodkin gave United a 3-0 victory at home to Godalming Town in Ryman Football League Division One South.
The result moved United - who are still unbeaten this season in all competitions - up to fifth in the early league table with 12 points from their opening six games.
Yesterday's signings Stephen Butcher and Barry Cogan went straight into United's starting line-up, Butcher at right-back and Cogan in an attacking midfield role.
United dominated possession during an uneventful first half, but despite some tremendous passes from Sam Cruttwell, struggled to carve out opportunities against a Godalming side which is now bottom of the table with just one point from six matches.
Bodkin had the ball in the net at the end of a lovely third minute move only to be denied by an offside flag and not long afterwards May saw a far post header from Butcher's cross deflect wide.
United's best chance of the half came in the 37th minute. Cruttwell played a lovely throughball to release Bodkin through the inside right channel, but Bodkin's shot struck the outside of the near post.
U's boss Darren Hare made a double substitution at half time, bringing on Stannard for Simon Johnson in midfield and Reece Butler for Sam Cole at left-back.
The changes seemed to liven United up a bit. Stannard, who was bright and keen to get involved, flashed a well-struck volley wide of the far post shortly after Cogan volleyed over from a corner.
United took charge with two goals in seven minutes just before the hour. They opened the scoring in the 54th minute when Bodkin delivered an inviting cross from the right and although Cogan couldn't make meaningful contact with a header, the ball rebounded off the gloves of goalkeeper Oneal Garnes for May to nod home.
The hosts then doubled their lead with a lovely goal. The excellent Cruttwell played a good ball through to Stannard, who picked out the far bottom corner with a delightful finish from the left-hand side of the box.
As the rain started to fall, United seemed to lose their way a bit and Godalming began to spend more time in home territory, albeit without looking particularly threatening.
Frannie Collin fired just wide for United from 25 yards and Stannard's crisp drive deflected over before United completed the scoring in the 89th minute. Cruttwell's diagonal ball found Bodkin, who dribbled across the edge of the penalty area before burying an accurate finish into the bottom corner.
Although this was the last game of May's 30-day loan from Maidstone United, fellow forward Jack Harris was back among the substitutes as he nears a return from the ankle injury he suffered on the opening day.
United: Pidgeley, Butcher (Watt 75), Cole (Butler HT), Cruttwell, Rowe, Davies, Cogan, Johnson (Stannard HT), May, Collin, Bodkin. Subs not used: Harris, Nicholls. Attendance: 305.
Top half standings (played 6 matches unless stated): 1 Tooting & Mitcham United (7) 17pts, 2 Dorking Wanderers 15, 3 Corinthian-Casuals 13, 4 Faversham Town 12, 5 HASTINGS UNITED 12, 6 Carshalton Athletic (5) 12, 7 Walton Casuals (5) 12, 8 Hythe Town 11, 9 Greenwich Borough 10, 10 Ramsgate 10, 11 Cray Wanderers 9, 12 Sittingbourne 9.
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 homepage2 Like our Facebook page at facebook.com/pages/Sport-Sussex3 Follow us on Twitter @SportSussex4 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!