Ade Olorunda scored a stunning winning goal as Hastings United celebrated a splendid FA Cup victory this afternoon (Saturday).
The U’s came from behind to win 2-1 in an entertaining first round qualifying tie away to Whyteleafe with all the goals coming during the second half.
With Tim Olorunda suspended, Kenny Pogue cup-tied and Taser Hassan not risked because of a knock, United made three changes from the side which drew at home to Merstham in the league the previous Monday. Olalekan Bankole, Dave Cook and Ade Olorunda came in.
Whyteleafe went into the game 10 places and eight points above United in Ryman Football League Division South having won five and drawn two of their first eight league fixtures, but United certainly held their own during a relatively even first half.
The match got off to a lively start with Sean Ray clearing Sam Clayton’s header from near United’s goal-line in the opening seconds and Frankie Sawyer hitting the near post at the other end inside two minutes.
There were no clear chances during the remainder of the first half, although Sawyer fired an angled drive just wide of the far post at the end of a good break involving Sam Cruttwell and Sam Adams.
Adams later flashed a shot just off target from outside the box and sent a low 25-yard free kick just wide with the final act of the half. Clayton went narrowly wide for Whyteleafe following a good run.
On their artificial 3G pitch, Whyteleafe started the second half strongly. Greg Andrews shot just over from the edge of the box within 45 seconds of the restart and U’s goalkeeper Josh Pelling made a good save from Roscoe D’Sane after United were caught out by a quick free kick.
Olorunda’s firm angled drive was parried by Whyteleafe goalkeeper Sheikh Ceesay moments before the hosts took a 55th minute lead. D’Sane outpaced Ray near the byeline on the home left and poked the ball across goal for Andrews to score with a close range header.
United levelled with a well-worked goal 12 minutes later. Adams exchanged passes with Olorunda before freeing Sawyer through the inside left channel. Sawyer’s ball across the box fell kindly for the impressive Adams to tap home.
It could have gone either way thereafter as the game became very open and end to end. Pelling saved Clayton’s deflected shot moments before United grabbed their 79th minute winner.
And what a goal it was too. Cruttwell thumped a long ball over the top from the left touchline which Olorunda controlled perfectly and then blasted into the roof of the net on the half-volley.
United inevitably had plenty of defending to do thereafter. Although Pelling beat out Tom Harper’s cross-shot, they looked pretty comfortable on the whole and almost had another at the other end but Bright Temba couldn’t quite force home a cross from fellow substitute Hassan.
United are now unbeaten in five games in all competitions and will go into the hat for Monday’s second round qualifying draw.
United: Pelling, Rose, Cruttwell, Bankole, Ray, King (Masters 88), Cook, Adams, A. Olorunda (Temba 82), Sawyer, Dolan (Hassan 31). Subs not used: Fayers, Cunnington.