Nigel Kane’s second stint as Hastings United manager got off to a winning start in dramatic fashion.
A 92nd minute winner from Evan Archibald gave the U’s a much-needed 2-1 victory away to bottom club Horsham in Ryman Football League Division One South last night (Wednesday).
Neither goalkeeper was required to make a genuine save during a goalless first half, although Tony Nwachukwu had a goal disallowed for offside for Horsham and United had a penalty appeal for handball turned down.
United started the second half the stronger and took the lead on the hour mark. Taser Hassan played in Steve Brinkhurst down the right and his low cross was drilled home by Sam Adams from 12 yards.
Sean Ray, wearing the United captain’s armband, made an important block from a shot by former Rye United player Oli Lockyer, but Horsham levelled in the 78th minute. Nwachukwu converted a penalty after United goalkeeper Josh Pelling couldn’t hold another Lockyer shot and then fouled George Blandford.
Lockyer and Blandford were whiskers away from turning the game on its head as Horsham looked the more likely winners, but United pinched the points against the run of play in added time. Richard Rose’s long free kick from inside his own half was headed down by Ray for substitute Archibald to smash past Gareth Williams in the home goal.
United: Pelling, Brinkhurst, Cruttwell, Rose, Ray, Vickers (Woodley 60), Logan, Adams, A. Olorunda (Archibald 67), Pogue (Robinson 83), Hassan. Sub not used: Hanifan. Attendance: 180.
Standings (played-points): 1 Burgess Hill Town 25-65, 2 Faversham Town 28-62, 3 Folkestone Invicta 28-58, 4 Merstham 28-57, 5 Whyteleafe 28-45, 6 Worthing 28-43, 7 Whitstable Town 29-41, 8 South Park 24-39, 9 Sittingbourne 30-38, 10 Tooting & Mitcham United 28-37, 11 Carshalton Athletic 29-37, 12 Chipstead 27-37, 13 Herne Bay 29-37, 14 Three Bridges 27-35, 15 Corinthian-Casuals 26-34, 16 Guernsey 28-34, 17 Walton & Hersham 26-33, 18 HASTINGS UNITED 28-31, 19 East Grinstead Town 27-30, 20 Hythe Town 28-29, 21 Walton Casuals 26-25, 22 Ramsgate 26-24, 23 Redhill 24-22, 24 Horsham 25-17.