Goals from Ben Pope and Jack Dixon in each half ensured Hastings United took the honours in a closely fought East Sussex derby. Jude Macdonald kept the same side that had scored 5 against Herne Bay at the weekend.
The game started at a lively pace and Hawks were unlucky not to take the lead after ten minutes when a Jack Dixon clearance off the line and a post denied Lucas Rodrigues following a left-wing corner. Connor Tighe and United’s former-Hawk Ryan Worrall both went close with shots from distance in the first 15 minutes.
Although United had more possession as the half progressed, the Hawks looked relatively comfortable until the 33rd minute. Lanre Azeez got away down the right and crossed for Pope to make it 1-0 from close range.
With two minutes to go to the break, Rodrigues fashioned a great opening for himself but shot over the bar, meaning the Hawks went in at half-time a goal down.
Two minutes after the re-start Pope broke behind the Hawks back four but failed to find the net with James Broadbent stranded outside his box. Pope then got himself booked for delaying the taking of a free-kick. Hawks replied with an attack that ended with Rodrigues having a near post shot saved and claims for a penalty turned down after a JP Kissock shot was charged down.
After 63 minutes United extended their lead, when winger Azeez was released by Pope and again got away down the right. His cross was converted by United skipper Dixon at the far post. 7 minutes later Craig Stone headed in a free-kick, only to be denied by an offside flag. Hawks skipper Lucas Rodrigues went off with a thigh strain on 71 minutes.
After Connor Tighe had gone close with a shot that went just wide with 15 minutes remaining, the Hawks hopes of a comeback were dashed when Marvin Hamilton was shown a straight red after a clash on the ground with Pope with just over ten minutes to play. Luke Emberson slotted into the back four but Daniel Ajakaiye immediately went close to extending United’s lead with a great solo run. Dave Martin still had time to strike an upright with a shot from the edge of the box before the ref signalled the end of the game.
Hawks: James Broadbent, Fintan Walsh, Charles Banya, Luke Emberson, Kacper Lopata, Marvin Hamilton, Lucas Rodrigues (c) (Robinson 71’), JP Kissock, Duane Ofori-Acheampong, Connor Tighe (Unwin 87’), Dave Martin
Subs not used: James Waters, Rob Deda, Matias Torres
United: Louis Rogers, Adam Lovatt, Sam Beale (Ollie Black 80’), Gary Elphick, Craig Stone, Jake Elliott, Lanre Azeez (Tom Chalmers 65’), Daniel Ajakaiye, Ben Pope, Jack Dixon (c), Ryan Worrall (James Pool 91’)
Subs not used: Davide Rodari, Kenny Pogue
Yellow cards: Ofori-Acheampong, Martin (Hawks). Beale, Pope, Worrall (United)
Red cards: Hamilton (Hawks)
Hawks MoM: JP Kissock
Referee: Kane Dempster