Hastings suffer opening day defeat

HASTINGS United made a disappointing start to the new season with a 1-0 defeat at home to newly promoted Wingate & Finchley.

The only goal of this Ryman Premier clash came on the half hour when Leon Smith somehow managed to get a shot away despite the presence of three defenders, and his well-struck effort sped past the dive of debutant keeper Lloyd Anderson.

Prior to the goal Hastings had played some nice stuff without really threatening to score. After falling behind, however, they struggled to up the tempo and it was the visitors who should have scored again when they were awarded a second half penalty.

Sean Ray was adjudged to have fouled David Laird who after dusting himself down smashed the spot-kick against the crossbar.

The closest Hastings came to scoring in front of a crowd of less than 300 was from a Fred Foreman free kick which Bobby Smith just about managed to keep out.

Hastings: Anderson, Manning, Bolwell (Hopkinson 48), Carey (Walder 55), Ray, Jirbandey, Dixon, Hall, Tate, Foreman (Pogue 64), Billings. Subs not used: Crellin, Jones.

Referee: Lee Venamore (Maidstone). Attendance: 297.

Hastings are back in action on Tuesday with a trip to East Thurrock United, kick-off 7.45pm.