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Report 4th March 2023

Hastings United 3 Eastbourne Borough 1

United went joint top of the league today after a 3-1 victory over Eastbourne Borough. The Old Bexhillians have a game in hand but you can hardly get a fish slice between the top two teams in terms of goal difference.

Today’s visitors were the toughest test yet of the front side’s abilities. Borough were well-drilled, well-organized and hard to break down and this made the win all the sweeter.

United got off to a flying start and scored before the echo of the ref’s whistle had died down. Beaky intercepted an Eastbourne pass, took three touches and belted it past Tony the goalie. It goes down on record as the quickest goal scored this season. 1 – 0.

But it galvanised the visitors into action and they matched United shot for shot for the remainder of the half. It was 20 minutes of super shooting and fabulous goalkeeping from GIG and Tony. Beaky had three shots well saved by the Eastbourne keeper – showing why he’s an England International- before Deano blasted his effort inches wide of the post.

Peruvian Mick had a shot wide and two saved by Tony before Eastbourne began their strong fightback. Their strikers shot wide twice but then Colin was called into action with three brilliant saves – one down to his left, another to his right and then his legs. At the other end Tony made two saves from Mick and the Beakmeister before pulling off an incredible tip round from Deano for a corner.

Jimbo was keen to get on the scoresheet and his keenness meant he overdid it on the running front, and picked up a blue card for three offences from Ref Phil, leaving United a man down towards the end of the half. Russ stepped in for a shrewd bit of game management here and ensured that he and Deano stayed calm at the back.

Going in one-nil up United knew they would need all their resolve and hard work to put this one properly to bed. And with Jimbo subbed and Wingnut on, they were undone inside two minutes with what looked at the time to be the goal of the game. Eastbourne’s number 4 waltzed past two United players and let fly with an unstoppable drive for the equalizer. 1 – 1.

At this stage it was anyone’s game. But if the crowd – largely Bexhill boo boys with nothing better to do – thought they had seen the afternoon’s best goal, they had reckoned without Beaky’s second. He took the ball with his back to goal, turned the tight defender on a shekel and drove home in one fluid motion like a Mercury enema. As he fell, he celebrated and the crowd sang his name from the touchline. It was an absolute cracker. 2-1 United.

It was then shot for shot for five minutes with some scintillating end to end football. Tony saved twice to defy Wingnut and rob the Beakleman of his hat-trick and Borough shot wide twice with GIG covering the posts well.

Save of the game came from Tony who was determined Mick was not going on the scoresheet and then he went feet-first to scupper Beaky’s chance of his third again. Mick had other ideas. When Mr Tasker is in this kind of form he usually shoots for goal himself and doesn’t worry about squaring the ball. This time he did just that. The defender was expecting a shot but instead Beaky put Mick in with a slide-rule pass and the Peruvian one buried it. 3-1. In fact he did it again 90 seconds later but the goal was chalked off for running. It would have been the icing on the cake.

This was a super Eastbourne side, a hundred times better than the travelling outfit that lost at the Academy a few weeks ago. And this was a top performance all round by Hastings, epitomised by Russ beating two men breaking out from the back and stretching his leg another six inches to block the shot as the ball got away from him. Total effort: total commitment.

With no El Jay( injured) and Blakey (hammered in Berlin) the squad stepped up and were counted.

Man of the Match: Beaky. Unplayable today. And could have had six if it weren’t for the superb Eastbourne man of the matcher Tony the goalie.

Phil Couzens reffed well and allowed the game to flow and Carol was back with her sarnies and hot drinks – just the ticket on a very cold afternoon. OB v HU in Bexhill will be the game that decides the league – it’s a mouth-watering prospect.