Bostik League South East
Saturday November 17 2018 15.00

Hastings United kept their perfect record in home league games on a chilly day when their captain, Sam Adams, made his 500th appearance for the club. In a first half of few chances, Hastings looked the more likely to score, winning eight corners, but Ajakaiye shot wide with just Dan Eason to beat and the Whitstable keeper managed to save a good low shot by Jack Dixon. Just before half time, Youssouf Bamba did give Hastings the lead when he collected a cross by Ajakaiye and shot past Eason. A well worked second goal by Sam Beale just after the break left the crowd of 512 expecting a routine home win, but Whitstable did their best to spoil the party. Tom Bryant soon pulled a goal back when a Jordan Wright free kick reached him at the back post and that lifted the visitors, who then created several more good chances. Charlie Horlock denied Elliott Hartnell-Baker after a great Kyran Connolly cross left him through on goal, two close range headers were cleared off the line, Harry Brown beat Horlock with a low strike that went just wide and Charlie Smith fired over the bar. Hastings had a couple of further chances themselves, with Eason saving well from Bamba, but it was a Whitstable mistake that finally gifted them a third goal to seal the win, when Ajakaiye intercepted a back pass by Bryant and rolled the ball into the net.

Whitstable travelled to 2nd placed Hastings, having won their previous three games, but still without a full squad. Captain James Morrish was serving the first of a two game ban, whilst Louis Sprosen and Chris Ellottt were injured. Ricky Freeman was originally named in the starting eleven, but had to pull out prior to the kick off. Tom Bryant took over as captain for the day and lined up next to Adams, who was joined on the pitch by his children prior to the game, before receiving an award from his club. Hastings had won all six previous home league matches, the most recent being a 5-0 triumph over Herne Bay. Leading scorer Daniel Ajakaiye had scored 20 goals in 19 appearances.

Sam Adams lines up before his 500th Hastings game next to Whitstable captain Tom Bryant

The game began relatively slowly, with the home team having a lot of possession and Whitstable defending well, getting the ball forward quickly when the chance arose. Hastings won a number of corners that were mostly played short, perhaps because of the height advantage of Whitstable, who were rarely troubled by crosses into the box. Stephen Smith tried an early low shot from the edge of the box that was gathered comfortably by Horlock. Bamba, Lanre Azeez and Emmanuel Mensah were all causing some problems with their runs out wide and the ball went dangerously across the Whitstable box on a few occasions, but Rob Gillman and Stuart West looked assured alongside Bryant in the Whitstable defence. The first real opening came in the 22nd minute when Ajakaiye stole the ball from Bryant and drove forward, but shot wide with just Eason to beat. Just afterwards another Hastings corner was cleared quickly to Stephen Smith and Horlock raced out to intercept, with the two players colliding as the ball was cleared. Dixon tried a low shot from 20 yards that was parried by Eason into the path of Ajakaiye, who looked certain to find the net, but put the ball wide, although it would not have counted as the assistant had raised his flag for offside.

Tom Walmsley tries to break through
An offside Daniel Ajakaiye puts the rebound wide after a Dan Eason save

A Whitstable free kick was swung in by Brown and headed across goal by West to Chris Saunders, who was unable to divert the ball towards goal. Saunders then picked up the first caution of the game for a challenge as Hastings tried to break. Tom Walmsley, who had been a late replacement for Freeman up front, then had to be substituted himself by Hartnell-Baker. As half time approached, Whitstable won their only corner of the game and Bryant was first to the ball, but could not direct his header on target. In the 44th minute, as Whitstable appealed in vain for a foul, Ajakaiye broke down the right and sent over a good cross to the far post, where Bamba arrived to collect the ball, evade the challenges of West and John Walker and shoot low past Eason to give Hastings a 1-0 lead at the break.

Tom Bryant heads wide
Hastings score the first goal just before half time

Both teams made changes for the second half, as Hastings replaced Mensah with Jamie Fielding and Connolly was introduced for the injured Walker by Whitstable. On 49 minutes, Hastings scored their second goal following a long sequence of passes that ended with Beale playing a one-two with Dixon and calmly slotting the ball low past the left hand of Eason. Whitstable did respond well however and made it 2-1 in the 51st minute, when a free kick near the left corner flag was taken by Wright and as several players challenged at the near post the ball dropped nicely for Bryant to sweep left footed into the net. Brown then swung in another free kick from the opposite corner that was cleared from under the bar. After Charlie Smith had received a caution for a robust challenge, the Whitstable injury curse struck again and Gillman, who had made some great interceptions at the back, had to be replaced by Teddy Nelson. The visitors were now having their best spell of the game and on 65 minutes, West swept the ball out to the impressive Connolly on the right, who curled over a perfect cross that cut out the covering defenders and left Hartnell-Baker one on one with Horlock, but he could not get enough power on his shot and the goalkeeper gathered at the second attempt.

Sam Beale finishes a good move to make it 2-0
The defence fail to deal with Jordan Wright’s free kick
Tom Bryant pulls a goal back for Whitstable
Elliott Hartnell-Baker sees his shot saved by Charlie Horlock

A good run by Bamba down the left then took him into the Whitstable box, but his curling shot was well saved by Eason. Just afterwards another Hastings attack saw a shot by Azeez cleared as far as Adams on the edge of the box, but he skied his shot over the bar. Bamba was the next name into the book, before Whitstable won another dangerous free kick that once again caused problems for the home defence. This time Brown crossed and the ball was nodded back to Stephen Smith who saw his header cleared off the line by Beale, then a follow up header was again hacked away to safety. A few minutes later, as Whitstable pressed high up the pitch, Hastings eventually lost possession on the edge of the own box and a first time shot by Brown beat Horlock, but went just the wrong side of the post. Charlie Smith was the next to try his luck, but shot just over from 20 yards. Just as the hopes of the Whitstable supporters amongst the large crowd were rising, an attempted back pass by Bryant failed to reach Eason and Ajakaiye nipped in, went past the goalkeeper and stroked the ball into the net to make it 3-1 in the 77th minute. Other than a booking for Stephen Smith, two further home substitutions and a few half chances for both teams, the game drifted to its inevitable conclusion, with the main interest being a late free kick for Hastings. Adams stepped up to see if he could add a goal to his memorable afternoon, but lifted his shot over the bar.

Stephen Smith’s header is cleared off the line by Sam Beale
Harry Brown shoots from the edge of the box
The ball goes just the wrong side of the post

Hastings were worthy winners in the end, but things might just have been different had Whitstable taken one of their chances when the score was 2-1. The sad demise of Thamesmead Town now gives Whitstable a two week break and a chance to get some injured players back before another tricky game at Horsham.







On Target









Free Kicks Won


Hastings United
Charlie Horlock, Emmanuel Mensah (Jamie Fielding 46), Sam Beale, Jahmal Howlett-Mundle, Sam Cruttwell, Daniel Ajakaiye, Sam Adams (c), Youssouf Bamba (Antonio Walker-Barth 83), Hassan Ibrahim, Lanre Azeez (Charlie Curran 88), Jack Dixon.
Subs (unused): Adam Lovatt, Tommy Taylor.
Goals: Youssuf Bamba 44, Sam Beale 49, Daniel Ajakaiye 77.
Yellow card: Youssuf Bamba 68

Whitstable Town
Dan Eason, John Walker (Kyran Connolly 46), Harry Brown, Stuart West, Rob Gillman (Teddy Nelson 60), Tom Bryant (c), Chris Saunders, Charlie Smith, Tom Walmsley (Elliott Hartnell-Baker 32), Stephen Smith, Jordan Wright.
Sub (unused): Ricky Freeman
Goal: Tom Bryant 51
Yellow cards: Chris Saunders 28, Charlie Smith 57, Stephen Smith 79.

Attendance: 512
Referee: Isaac Searle
Assistants: Aaron Conn & Joseph Dann-Pye


Date Time League Season
Sat 17 Nov 2018 3:00 pm Bostik South East 2018-2019


The Pilot Field
244 Elphinstone Rd, Hastings TN34 2AX, UK


Club1st Half2nd HalfGoals
Hastings United123
Whitstable Town011