Pogue pounces late to secure Hastings United victory at Whitstable

On cold, dull, foggy and grey day at The Belmont Ground, Hastings United needed a late Kenny Pogue goal to see off Whitstable Town, writes Adam Carder

Tom Chalmers goes close for Hastings at Whitstable / Picture: Scott White
Tom Chalmers goes close for Hastings at Whitstable / Picture: Scott White

The United teamsheet featured defender Finn O’Mara after signing his permanent contract at the Pilot Field.

Hastings United start the game and immediately go on the front foot looking for a quick opener with Andrew Sesay shooting just wide in the first minute.

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Hastings continue to push forward throughout the first half, Junior Baker of Whitstable Town takes a couple of knocks and ends up substituted in the 12th minute by James Brown. Hastings United keep the pressure up with O’Mara heading just over the bar from an Ollie Black throw in.

Sam Adams in action for Hastings at Whitstable / Picture: Scott White

Whitstable get a free kick midway through the first half but it has hardly any power thanks to the playing surface, and keeper Louis Rogers is able to scoop the ball up with no hassle. Clearly the pitch is causing problems for both teams as the ball doesn’t seem to be falling well for either team.

In the 25th minute Sam Hasler is brought down on the left, he takes the free kick himself, the ball bounces around the penalty area awaiting a tap-in but it's Whitstable Town who are able to kick the ball clear. Craig Stone is brought down by two players in the box but the referee doesn’t see any wrongdoing and eventually play is stopped so Stone can receive treatment.

After the drop ball Whitstable look to be making a break but Craig Stone is there to make a fantastic sliding tackle much to the relief of the Hastings faithful. The Us continue pushing forward looking for an opener but it doesn’t come and the half time whistle is blown and the players depart the field goalless.

Whitstable Town kick off the second half and start a bit stronger forcing a brilliant save from Rogers who spills the ball in the area but Whitstable are unable to capitalise on the mistake. In the 64th minute Marcus Goldsmith is replaced by Tom Chalmers - and it's great to see Tom coming back after his slight injury. His impact is instant and he shows his pace against Whitstable who are unable to keep up with him.

Gary Elphick celebrates Hastings' win at Whitstable / Picture: Scott White

At this point in the game it's worth noting Ashford United are currently 2-0 up against Haywards Heath Town meaning they would be just 2 points behind Hastings United with a game in hand.

A couple of free kicks and corners for Hastings United are unable to make an impact with shots going just over or not having enough power to trouble the opposing goal keeper, and the playing surface is really not helping the Us get the vital advantage.

Knory Scott makes way for Pogue in the 73rd minute and Hastings continue to push forward for an opener with Chalmers and Pogue missing headers, TC's going over and Kenny’s being saved by the keeper. Whitstable are able to conjure a few chances and the ball is cleared by the Hastings defenders up towards Pogue, who many think is offside but it's not seen that way by the officials. Kenny is able to slot the ball past the goal keeper and it's 1-0 to Hastings United.

Ashford United are now trailing 3-2 against Haywards Heath meaning Hastings now have a 7 point clearance at the top of the league.

Whitstable seem deflated after a positive performance from them. Hastings do what they can to hold off any attacks from Whitstable and muster a couple of chances from a free kick and a corner but the score remains 1-0 as the referee blows the final whistle.