Hastings United’s footballers got the new season off to the perfect start this afternoon (Saturday).
The U’s were comprehensive 2-0 winners away to Walton Casuals on the opening day of the 2014/15 Ryman Football League Division One South campaign.
United manager Terry White gave league debuts to Richard Rose, Jahmahl King and Jordan Johnson, while Sean Ray, Ronnie Dolan and Ade Olorunda made their first competitive appearances since returning to the club in the summer.
After Frankie Sawyer whistled an early long range effort narrowly wide on a sunny afternoon in Surrey, United opened the scoring in the 12th minute when Dolan fired a Sam Adams cross low into the corner.
Although Gary Frewin spurned a glorious chance to level for Walton, United were in dominant form and could’ve been three or four goals ahead by half time. Sawyer shot just too high on one occasion after strike partner Olorunda wriggled through the home defence.
Tempers frayed slightly at the start of the second half before Sawyer shot just past the upright having evaded the goalkeeper. United doubled their advantage when Olorunda blasted home from close range after being put through by Dolan.
Tim Olorunda fired just wide, while at the other end, United goalkeeper Josh Pelling was again out quickly to thwart Gabriel Odunaike. Dolan’s excellent afternoon then came to a premature conclusion as he succumbed to an injury caused by a challenge which came in as he unleashed a shot which deflected wide.
Dolan’s replacement, another debutant Bright Temba, almost got on the end of a Sawyer cross from he right and an unmarked Adams shot just wide from a cross by left-sided player Johnson as United threatened a third goal.
Walton headed over the crossbar from a corner, but United looked solid and almost extended their margin of victory right at the end as Sawyer latched onto a fumble by the goalkeeper from a driven Adams free kick but couldn’t quite force the ball home.
It was United’s third victory in three meetings with Walton since being relegated to Division One South at the end of the 2012/13 season and they’ve yet to concede a goal in any of them.
United: Pelling, Rose, Cruttwell, T. Olorunda, Ray, King, Dolan, Adams, A. Olorunda, Sawyer, Johnson. Subs: Temba, J. Taylor, Bankole, Masters, M. Taylor.