Hastings United’s six-match unbeaten run was ended by a defeat which would have been hard to take.
The U’s went down 2-1 at home to Carshalton Athletic in Ryman Football League Division One South this afternoon (Saturday) after conceding an 89th minute winner against the run of play.
Although United certainly didn’t perform as well as they had done in their previous two games, they were denied by a handful of top class saves from the away goalkeeper and conceded a couple of soft goals.
Jordan Higgs flashed a shot across the face of goal from an acute angle and Brendan Murphy-McVey’s effort from a free kick deflected just wide before the visitors took a deserved 21st minute lead.
Murphy-McVey’s shot from the edge of the box should have been comfortable for Josh Pelling, but it slipped through the hands of the normally very reliable United goalkeeper and into the net.
United finally got going during the final 10 minutes of the first half and might well have been at least level by the break. Dave Cook’s half-hit volley after Kenny Pogue flicked on a Taser Hassan corner was knocked off the line and from the corner which followed that, Sean Ray’s header was well saved by goalkeeper Matt Willard on the line low to his right.
Pogue latched on to Ade Olorunda’s flick and lifted the ball over Willard, but off target and a defender got back to clear. Right on half time, Willard made a great save low to his left from substitute Sam Adams, who had shown lovely feet to work the opening.
Into the second half and United defender Jahmahl King made an important block from Michael Campbell’s shot, while moments later at the other end, Willard produced another fine stop low to his right to keep out Hassan’s shot from the edge of the box.
Pelling held a Higgs shot above his head and although you couldn’t say it had been coming, United equalised in the 74th minute. Olorunda did superbly in the right-hand side of the area and poked the ball across for Pogue to volley home from close range.
Carshalton substitute Kingsley Aikhionbare saw a goalbound shot from an inviting position blocked, but United looked the more likely winners thereafter and Pogue’s far post header from a Ronnie Dolan cross seemed certain to nestle in the net until Willard stuck out his left hand to pull off a wonder save.
Debutant goalkeeper Willard again came to his side’s rescue in the 87th minute, this time diving to his right to claw out Cook’s header as it bounced up following a fine cross by Bryce Masters.
Carshalton pinched the points just a couple of minutes later. A Masters pass was cut out by Nassim Dukali, who played in fellow substitute Aikhionbare to score the winner, much to the delight of his team-mates.
United: Pelling, Rose, Cruttwell (Masters 68), Bankole (Adams 41), Ray, King, Cook, Hassan, A. Olorunda, Dolan, Pogue. Subs not used: Temba, T. Olorunda, Sawyer. Attendance: 413.