The better team lost: Alex Panton’s take on Peacehaven’s cup exit to Hastings United

Peacehaven v Hastings
Peacehaven v Hastings
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For the second week running Peacehaven went all the way to extra time in a cup. This time though it was the Tye who were on the end of a sucker punch, as Danny Elllis’ late winner earned Hastings a somewhat fortunate victory.

Overall this was an encouraging evening for Peacehaven. It’s perfectly possible that these sides will be facing each other in the same league next season, and whilst on this evidence there isn’t too much of a gap in other ways this could be seen as a missed opportunity for Shaun Saunders side.

Peacehaven v Hastings

Peacehaven v Hastings

It was only superior finishing which saved the Ryman League side from an ignominious exit, . They appeared disinterested and increasingly desperate as the game wore on, and had Peacehaven held onto or extended their lead it’s unlikely they would have come back.

If Wes Millis had taken the opportunity which fell to him in extra time, if Kevin Keehan hadn’t been forced off, if Ryan McBride had been available to give Peacehaven another option it would probably have been Peacehaven in the quarter final. But whilst Peacehaven had several chances which they spurned, Hastings had once chance and took it.

Peacehaven had a strong starting line up, but without Ben Swetman, Joe Dryer, McBride and Aaron Gunn they were short of reinforcements. Hastings were clearly taking the contest seriously, naming the same side who had lined up in the league at the weekend.

The home side took the initiative against their lacklustre visitors, with Keehan and Millis dominant in the middle.

Mills could have opened the scoring inside the first minute, and Ashley Rees and Carl Dunk also had decent opportunities.

Saunders side finally got the goal their play deserved when Rees combined with Rob O’Toole before chipping over Daniel East with what is becoming a trademark finish.

With half time approaching the careless concession of a free kick allowed Zac Attwood to curl in a perfectly placed left foot shot past Joe Adams.

It was a let off for the Hastings players, but it didn’t spare them from a blistering half time rant from manager Sean Ray.

That might have been expected to liven them up, but it didn’t really have the desired effect, and it was only Ray who went close to adding to the scoring, hitting the bar from a corner. Peacehaven’s momentum had been somewhat blunted by the loss, to injury, of Keehan, who had been the best player on the park to that point.

Peacehaven’s best chance to win the tie came in extra time, when Millis broke from his own area, but with only East to beat, hesitated and the chance was lost.

Both sides seemed to have settled for penalties when a loose pass O’Toole from allowed Ellis a free run on goal, and though he was injured in the process he found the finish to take his side through.

There was still enough time for Ray to get himself sent off, but at least he had managed to steer his side through. There was little doubt though that the better side had lost.

TYE: Adams, Hall, Hill, Jones, Millis, Kneller, Keehan (Mayo), Dunk (Louis), Rees, Tate, O’Toole.