Ryman League side come from behind to win in extra time
Reds are out of the Sussex Senior Cup after an extra time goal by Sam Adams sealed a 2-1 win for Hastings United in front of a crowd of 210 at the Checkatrade.com Stadium.
The hosts took an early lead through Christian Scales but Bright Temba equalised before the break and although Reds huffed and puffed the closest they came to a winner in normal time was when Lee Barnard struck the crossbar.
Adams finished neatly to make it 2-1 in the second half of extra time and Hastings had other opportunities on the break in extra time to finish the tie off.
Mark Yates chose a strong XI with players hoping to impress the manager and put those in possession of first team shirts under pressure, but despite a lively start Reds struggled throughout to break down a well organised visiting team.
Reds started well enough. Barnard forced a save from Hastings keeper Josh Pelling from inside the box before the visitors had their first chance but Sean Ray’s header only found the safe hands of Callum Preston.
Gavin Tomlin’s strike from outside the area was only punched by Pelling and the onrushing Barnard just failed to make a connection under pressure, but Reds did go in front on 22 minutes when Mitch Hancox’s corner was played back across goal by Jon Ashton and Scales could hardly miss from a yard.
The Reds could have doubled the lead seconds later but Tomlin could only strike the post from a good position.
Instead, Hastings equalised on 27 minutes when the Reds failed to clear their lines. Jack Harris’s shot was pushed out by Preston but Temba made no mistake from 12 yards.
Momentum was now with the visitors, but just before the break Conor Henderson latched onto Barnard’s clever pass only to see his right-foot shot drift just wide.
After the break, the Reds began to dictate proceedings but Hastings defended diligently and calmly to protect Pelling’s goal.
Trialist Max Kilman was one of three subs used by Reds with Sonny Bradley and Roarie Deacon also coming on and Kilman’s pass played in Shamir Fenelon whose low cross found Barnard, however he dragged his attempt wide.
Barnard then clattered the bar from distance but Hastings deserved to take the game into extra time and there was no evidence in the supplementary 30 minutes that Reds’ full-time fitness would make the difference.
Pelling did make an excellent save to deny Deacon and that proved a crucial moment when Adams ghosted in unmarked to head home a cross from Tyrell Richardson-Brown.
Reds pushed men forward and Fenelon was denied by Pelling but Adams also squandered two great openings on the break as Hastings counter-attacked intelligently before they could celebrate a victory that few in the crowd would have begrudged them.
: Preston, Bawling, Ashton (sub: Kilman 69), Scales, Hancox (Bradley 69), Henderson (Deacon 81), Jenkins, Rooney, Fenelon, Tomlin, Barnard. Unused subs: Flahavan, Young. Crawley