The Hornets got stung by Ringmer tonight at the Stade Geriatrica.

Although Hastings had a lot of possession and applied good pressure they just couldn’t break the visitors down in the final third. The Cat was in action from the off and made three saves – the first a flying tip-over – in the first ten minutes but then the home side began to turn the screw.

Hastings scored first with a well-taken goal by Matty Longshanks who keeps up his excellent record for scoring in meaningful games. But the visitors struck back direct from the kick-off while Hastings Hornets were dreaming of their first win. The Ringmer keeper was tested once or twice more before Chairman Phil pounced on the edge of the box and scored after a deft turn. But in a tit-for-tat ten minutes, Ringmer scored again direct from the kick-off.

Half-time came with honours even and it was anyone’s game.

The starting five had already been diminished up-front when Matty limped off with a recurring Achilles niggle and Cookie’s unavailability meant we were struggling in attack.

Marco van Gasman – who had already had a few blasts – was pushed up front with Scouse Phil while Doc Dyer shored up the defence. He was masterful from the off, and his and Iron Russ’s voices were in chorus. Loud and clear. Old John Martin came on in the second half too and came a cropper with an accidental collision that would have floored a lesser septuagenarian for six months. But he was able to limp off to see MvG’s return.

Tackle of the match was pulled off by resident Welshman Touchline Mike, who held back facing two Ringmer strikers and committed himself at precisely the right moment to clear for a corner.
From the corner, the visitors got one man through on goal as the Hornets pushed up and he slid the ball under the advancing Cat to make it 2-3. It was the only moment of disappointment for the big keeper, who otherwise turned in a good performance.

Then came real drama. Rusty had been tussling with his marker for a good ten minutes and there was a bit of back and forth. The Ringmer player was called a Fat C and offered to take Russ into the car park to discuss it further. There was little doubt our man could have Ironed him out but it was all calmed down in moments. Ref Kim stepped in and gave Russ the red card. He had already been warned twice for minor infringements and the chest-to-chest confrontation was enough for Kim to send Russ off.

Down to five, Doc Dyer swung into action as the sole defender and Ringmer – who had parked the bus since going ahead – began to take full advantage of the extra man. The Cat faced five shots in as many minutes, forced into three good saves, but the last one crept in seconds before the final whistle to make it 2-4.

It was a disappointing result, but Russ, who stayed on the side lines bellowing encouragement, says the more proper games we play the better we will become. This was Ringmer’s first ever away match and they went home with a win and their bellies full of post-match refreshments.

The squad was: The Cat, Doc Dyer, Touchline, Marco van G, Old John, Matty, Rusty and Chairman Phil.

MoM: Doc Dyer – a towering presence in defence.