Hastings edge end to end encounter to win County Cup
Hastings United emerged victorious against a spirited ASC Strikers side to win the Sussex Stan Beattie Memorial Trophy (under-15s) sponsored by Gardner & Scardifield at Culver Road on Sunday evening.
In a game full of twists and turns it was Hastings clinical finishing that saw them to victory despite going in behind at the break. A resurgent second-half performance saw them turn the game on its head and they held on at the end to secure the silverware.
ASC Strikers started arguably the better of the two sides, Hastings looked a little nervy at the back and gave the ball away in dangerous areas but fortunately for them their opponents didn’t take full advantage.
Hastings goalkeeper Oskar Lockyer was called into action with a quarter of the game gone to twice deny Lewis Rathbone. His first intervention was a smothering stop from a close range header by the forward, and then before Rathbone linked up well with strike partner Luke Ellard, but drilled his shot straight at the keeper.
On the half-hour mark Hastings took the lead, a little against the run of play. Baxter Orchard did well to flick the ball onto his teammate William White and from just inside the area he hit his shot low and it went under the diving Joe Robinson in the ASC Strikers goal and in.
United weren’t ahead for long however, as just four minutes later ASC Strikers pulled a goal back. The lively Josh Paine’s cross to the back post found Rathbone and his effort deflected off Kipps on its way into the net giving Lockyer no chance.
Soon after, and just minutes before the interval, the Strikers completed the turnaround; a long ball over the top saw Lindo in the clear having beaten the offside trap, and he managed to prod the ball past the advancing Lockyer to swing the game back into ASC’s favour.
Within five minutes of the restart Hastings were back on level terms after a frantic thirty seconds of football.
First off a free-kick into the area was headed up and onto the crossbar, the ball bounced three times along the bar before falling onto a melee of players underneath it and Robinson was forced to make the save with anyone of a number of players having headed it goal-wards.
The chaos continued as the rebound fell to Hugo Corbin and he smashed an effort on the half-volley against the charmed crossbar. To finish it off the ball fell to White on the edge of the area and he hit an unstoppable drive through a group of players, and just under the crossbar this time, for his and Hastings’ second goal of the night.
ASC Strikers had two good opportunities to retake the lead after that, Shay Leahy threaded a lovely ball into Lindo but he shot straight at Lockyer under no pressure, and Jack Pace did the same just two minutes later when well placed.
The warning signs were there for the Strikers when Will Brown’s free-kick from deep was flicked onto the post by Tom Chambers, and it was that man Chambers who put Hastings ahead minutes later.
The ASC defence was hounded by the stand in skipper, with usual captain Alfie Warner forced off through injury, as he stole the ball and drove at goal before drilling his shot low into the bottom corner past the diving Robinson to give his side the lead.
A flurry of substitutions did break the game up a bit after the goal and a professional display from the Hastings side limited their opponents to few chances to get back into the game. The closest they came was Paine’s hooked effort that went narrowly wide after Ellard had got up well to win the flick on and create the chance.
In added time the aforementioned Paine saw red after a frustrated tackle from behind on Hastings’ tricky little midfielder Kyoungiu Park. The dismissal all but ended ASC Strikers hope of a late equaliser and the East Sussex side held on to win the trophy.
After the match winning manager Marc Gall said: “We set our stall out at the beginning of the season to make sure we competed in this cup, and the boys have gone on and done really well.
“We showed great character in the second-half, we ran more than them and for me that was the difference between us winning and losing, so credit where its due the boys took it on board and did what they needed to do.”
“I’m quite fortunate to have a good group with lots of quality and ability, we’ve got some fantastic players and I’m really pleased for them!”
(A selection of photographs can be found on Facebook - courtesy of Michael Hulf via Simon Roe Photography)
(Video highlights are available above and also on YouTube - courtesy of FilmMyMatch)
Stats: (Hastings United-ASC Strikers)
Goals: 3-2; Shots: 11-9; Shots-on-target: 4-6; Corners: 1-3; Fouls: 9-15; Offside: 1-2; Yellow cards: 1-1; Red cards: 0-1.
Hastings United: Lockyer, Berger, Warner ©, Kipps, Brown, Warren, Greig, Chalmers, Scott, White, Orchard.
Subs: Davies, Brooks, Simmons, Park, Corbin.
ASC Strikers: Robinson, Cook, Rathbone, Cranfield, Harding, Hickingbotham, Leahy ©, Ward, Marchant, Ellard, Paine.
Subs: Walsh, Lindo, Webb, Gyll, Pace.
Match report by Darren Ford