Hastings United 5 The Atha 0
The Atha came to Hastings this afternoon for a spanking by their noisy neighbours.
It ended 5-0 in an on-pitch flagellation which saw the home side barely break into a sweat. And in these derby matches bragging rights are everything.
The phenomenal away supporters slunk away threatening to take revenge against the Hornets in the next rubber between the two towns.
The match was crowned by a fabulous hat-trick from Beaky Tasker the undoubted man of the match. The little dynamo – tough as a pair of Tel Aviv desert boots – was simply unplayable.
But the perfect afternoon was marred when El Jay had to be helped off after a calf injury ended his match. He will miss the Front side’s next outing against Eastbourne and may be doubtful thereafter.
The story of the match is simple: it was killed stone dead by United within the first seven minutes.
Deano – his reactolites glistening in the surprising sunshine – surged forward to open the scoring with a fierce shot that bobbled between the ground and the keeper’s ribcage twice before squirming in. You have to feel sorry for non-keepers press ganged into service between the sticks and Atha debutant Big Simon probably regretted putting his hand up when Stumpy failed to show before kick off. His afternoon was made doubly worse when El Jay scored with a scorcher that would have tested any full time goalie, let alone a stop-gap.
By the time Stumpy turned up, the match was already lost and he could do nothing to prevent Beaky’s first goal – scored 30 seconds after he came on to replace the Spanish Bun Boy. Jay’s incredible six goals in six games since Coach Russ put him up front consistency will be sorely missed over the next few weeks.
Stumpy did well to tip a Blakey drive over the bar to keep the Atha in it but it was all Hastings in the outfield. Peruvian Mick had a goal ruled out for running – good decision by Ref Phil, Stumpy made a great save to deny Beaky his second and then – in the best move of the match – Mick turned Enormous Ian inside out before slipping the ball to Beaks only for Coach Russ to be inches wide with his shot.
Right at the tail end of the half, Dave Fricker had Bexhill’s only shot on target in the match, parried by Gig who then pounced on the rebound as it rolled back out of the area. The fact that that was Colin’s only save of the game speaks volumes for the United dominance.
Trigger – still counting his silver pieces – had a couple of weak toe pokes well wide and that very much was that.
This is league football and a very different donkey to shooting on sight in a gym against weaker players week in week out and celebrating as though you’ve won the World Cup.
Three-nil at half time and gentleman Rob Say replaced the woeful HR Hassan who had really let the vocal crowd get to him. Jimbo had a goal disallowed for running at the start of the second period and the busy striker had three other attempts just wide or well-saved by Stumpy, who was having the game of his diminutive life. He couldn’t stop Beaky adding his second and then completing his hat-trick but without him this could have been much worse for the visitors. In fact, he made another three saves before stopping Jimbo scoring with the last kick of the game.
So where was this match won? It was won in midfield where Russ called all the shots. If there was nothing on, the new England international was not afraid to stroke it 30 yards back to the keeper and start again. By playing in front of Deano, it allowed him, Mick and Blakey to pop the ball around at will.
Up front, reliable Clive hardly got a touch and even some great defensive work from Ian and Mr Fricker couldn’t put the damper on Beaky’s masterful display of shooting.
The Atha had their best five minutes in the last quarter but this was after United took their foot off the gas and were coasting.
The five-goal tally, importantly, wipes out Bexhill OB’s goal difference advantage and it will be a battle of giants when the two teams meet in the top of the table clash.