Eastbourne United AFC gave their higher grade neighbours a real scare in the FA Cup on Saturday.
Ryman Football League Division One South side Hastings United needed to produce a fine comeback from 2-0 down to win 3-2 away to Macron Store Sussex County Football League Division One leaders Eastbourne in an entertaining preliminary round tie.
Hastings had the game’s first real chance with Dave Cook firing just over. Eastbourne opened the scoring, however, in the 13th minute courtesy of a player who began the season with Hastings.
Sean Ray’s attempted back header was intercepted by Jason Taylor, who placed a nice finish beyond goalkeeper Josh Pelling.
Taylor went from scorer to provider of Eastbourne’s second goal in the 25th minute. Taylor cut in in from the left on a driving run and slipped the ball through for Lucas Mann to slot past Pelling.
Hastings responded extremely well. After Ronnie Dolan saw a snap-shot saved, Ade Olorunda turned his man inside the box and lashed a left-foot shot into the roof of the net to pull one back in the 27th minute.
Hastings should have been back on level terms barely a minute later.
The impressive Olorunda got away down the left and squared for striker partner Frankie Sawyer, who skewed his shot wide with the goal at his mercy.
The visitors did equalise in the 36th minute and Olorunda was again heavily involved. He backed into the defender and laid the ball off for Dolan, whose mishit shot fell to Sawyer. Although Sawyer’s first
effort was stopped, he scrambled the ball home at the second attempt.
The momentum was with Hastings at the end of the first half and they had a great chance to take the lead early in the second period, but home goalkeeper Russell Tanner made a fingertip save from a clean through Sawyer.
Olorunda’s firm header went straight at Tanner moments later.
Although Hastings probably had more of the play with the wind at their backs, they needed a brilliant tip over by Pelling from Ashley Jarvis approaching the midway point in the second half to keep them on terms.
Olorunda fired over on the turn from a Richard Rose throw and it was from another throw that Hastings grabbed an 80th minute winner. Sam Cruttwell’s long delivery from the left eventually dropped to Cook, who managed to get a shot away which rolled into the net.
Eastbourne gave an excellent account of themselves, though, and kept pushing all the way to the end. Pelling made a good stop with his legs from Jarvis and then held a header from the same player.
Hastings went down to 10 men as the clock ticked into added time after Tim Olorunda was shown a second yellow card for handball, but they held firm to set up a trip to Whyteleafe in first round qualifying on
Saturday September 13.
Eastbourne United: Tanner, Featherstone, Corrigan, Dartnall, Gardner, Pollard, Taylor, Jarvis, Rogers, Tate, Mann. Subs: Farrant, Stevens, Melia, Smart, Buay, Sargent.