GUTTED

Hastings 3 Yeltz 2

05 October 2002

I still can't believe we threw it away. In the most depressing result for some time, the mighty Yeltz came back from 2-0 down to equalise in the last five minutes before letting Hastings score a sickening winner straight afterwards.

We started off very brightly with Kirk Master in particular showing some excellent touches, but some poor defending let them take the lead against the run of play and then they went 2-0 up with a stunning long distance strike just after. However they then had a bloke sent off for what appeared to be mouthing off to the ref after being booked, which gave us an excellent chance of getting back into it.

We were pretty much all over them in the second half with the extra man, got one back from a Leadbeater header, and should of equalised just after when Ashby (I think) missed a very good chance from close in. We finally did pull level when sub Andy Spencer set up Elmesy in the 87th minute, but unbeliveably they went down the other end and snatched an unlikely winner. Elmes got sent off for swinging at a defender, but it was already too late and we'd lost in very depressing circumstances.

We've slipped another place to , which makes Tuesday's game at The Grove against extremely important. They're currently bottom having scored even fewer than us, but they did beat fellow strugglers Folkestone yesterday so it's not going to be easy.

Saturday's FA Cup tie at is also very important, not least for the prize money we'll gain if we get through. It's a crucial week so let's all get behind the team and hope for two victories.

Match Report from DJ

Hastings Utd: King; Yates, Hegley, Osborne, Burt, Flanagan, Myall, Ruddy, Zahana-Oni, Simmonds, Honey (Webb 84). Unused Subs: Body, Sims

Halesowen Town: Clarke; Colwell, Burnham (Reece 45), R. Collins, L. Collins, Newall, Master, Ashby (Elmes 62), Leadbeater, Taylor, Hines (Spencer 84). Unused Subs: Smith, Garvey

Referee: A.Cork (Lewes) Attendance: 543

Booked: Simmonds (10), Ruddy (64), Reece (80) Sent Off: Zahana-Oni(37), Elmes (89)

Halesowen had only themselves to blame for leaving the South coast empty-handed and continue their alarming slide towards the foot of the table. Hastings, reduced to ten men and unable to name a full complement of substitutes due to injury and suspensions, must have been surprised to find themselves with a two-goal half-time lead.

In the first few minutes Hastings won a corner that was easily collected by Tim Clarke and Stuart Myall drove wide from 18 yards under pressure from Richard Colwell. At the other end Kirk Master drove at goalkeeper Dave King from 25 yards. Hastings looked to have taken a 13th minute lead when Adam Flanagan picked up a loose ball and drove into the side netting from close range.

Little was seen of Halesowen as an attacking threat in a poor first half performance although back in-favour Ross Collins beat five Hastings players on a mazy run before seeing his 21st minute shot blocked for a corner.

The Arrows were gifted a 30th minute lead when Jason Burnham lost the ball to Steve Yates on the edge of the area to leave the Hastings player with only Clarke to beat. Clarke was able to force Yates wide but he crossed for Landry ZAHANA-ONI to back-heel home on the goal-line. Richard Leadbeater and Les Hines just failed to connect a minute later as confusion reigned in the Hastings defence. Worse then followed for the Yeltz when Paul RUDDY smashed a 25-yard drive into the top corner to increase the lead in the 34th minute.

Zahana-Oni turned villain and gave Halesowen renewed hope when he was dismissed on 37 minutes for failing to retreat at a free-kick and gesturing sarcastically at the referee. Demoralised Halesowen then gave the ball away again in the 41st minute allowing Nick Hegley to cross for Chris Honey to head just high.

Halesowen took full control of the game after half-time and for periods were virtually camped in the Hastings half. The arrears were eventually reduced in the 57th minute when Leadbeater turned in the box and hit a Dominic Reece cross over and from the resulting corner LEADBEATER powered home a close range header. Jason Ashby missed a glorious chance to equalise four minutes later when he put a free header wide from a Richard Colwell cross. Ross Collins then drilled just wide after 65 minutes from 15 yards and six minutes from time both Leadbeater and Mark Taylor were close to goal but could not find a way through. Colwell then clipped just over when substitute Rob Elmes headed down.

The second half dominance finally paid off in the 87th minute when substitute Andy Spencer beat his marker on the left to cross for ELMES to head home. However, the Yeltz threw the point away with a lack of discipline in the final minute as sloppy defending allowed Danny Simmonds to fire the winner for Hastings from six yards in their only real attempt on goal in the second half. Despondent Elmes was sent off in the dying seconds for allegedly striking out at Tony Burt and showing dissent towards the referee's assistant.