Hastings United’s footballers made a very welcome return to winning ways this afternoon (Saturday).
The U’s ended a six-match winless run in Ryman Football League Division One South with a much-needed 2-0 victory away to eighth-placed Herne Bay thanks to a goal in either half from Taser Hassan and Charlie Farmer.
The result means United have won all three of their matches against the north Kent club since the start of last season without conceding a single goal. They triumphed by the same scoreline in the corresponding fixture last term.
New signings Fraser Logan and Ashley-Paul Robinson went straight into United’s starting line-up after returning to the club from Bognor Regis Town and Lewes respectively, while Evan Archibald came in at the last minute for the originally selected Kevin Keehan.
Hassan and Tom Vickers had shots from just outside the box as United started brightly, and the same two players combined to carve out the game’s first real chance when Hassan’s shot from a Vickers pass was well saved by home goalkeeper Jack Delo.
After having a penalty appeal for handball turned down, United took a deserved lead in the 40th minute. Hassan drove past Delo for his third goal in as many games following a fine ball from Logan.
United found themselves in an identical half time position to the previous weekend’s match at Chipstead, but whereas that ended in a disappointing 2-1 defeat, this produced a fifth away league victory of the campaign and a third clean sheet.
Away goalkeeper Josh Pelling pulled off a decent stop from Steven Ita and then did enough to thwart Joe Nelder from a great Herne Bay chance. Steve Brinkhurst also cleared off the away goal-line.
Against a Herne Bay side which introduced newly-signed former United and St Leonards striker Mark Lovell as a substitute, the U’s doubled their lead in the 70th minute. Logan was again the provider, delivering a free kick for Farmer to head in at the far post.
Nelder fired a long range effort just over the crossbar and Lovell headed an Ita cross too high in added time, while Jordan Woodley’s dangerous free kick at the other end was turned just wide by Herne Bay defender Gary Sayer.
United: Pelling, Brinkhurst, Rose, Archibald, Ray, Farmer, Vickers (Hunt), Adams, Robinson (Pogue), Logan, Hassan (Woodley). Subs not used: Keehan, T. Olorunda.
Standings (played-points): 1 Merstham 27-54, 2 Burgess Hill Town 21-53, 3 Faversham Town 25-53, 4 Folkestone Invicta 24-49, 5 Whyteleafe 25-41, 6 Worthing 26-40, 7 South Park 23-39, 8 Herne Bay 27-37, 9 Tooting & Mitcham United 25-36, 10 Chipstead 25-36, 11 Sittingbourne 27-35, 12 Three Bridges 25-35, 13 Walton & Hersham 25-33, 14 Whitstable Town 26-32, 15 Corinthian-Casuals 25-31, 16 Guernsey 27-31, 17 Carshalton Athletic 26-30, 18 HASTINGS UNITED 25-28, 19 East Grinstead Town 26-27, 20 Hythe Town 26-26, 21 Ramsgate 24-24, 22 Redhill 22-22, 23 Walton Casuals 23-19, 24 Horsham 21-17.