Match Report: Hastings Utd 2-4 Whyteleafe
The glorious summer of 2018 continued. What could be better, a day out at the seaside in October with the sun out and 23C, and victory for Leafe against one of the strongest sides in the competition at this stage. A bumper crowd of 460 enjoyed this entertaining match between 2 very attacking sides playing good football.
Hastings had the best of the early exchanges with lively wingers Dayshonne Golding and Youssuf Bamba making some good runs and crosses. It was easy to see why Daniel Ajakaiye is the leading scorer in the Bostik league with the support he gets from these two and others. Leafe fans are fully aware of the danger Ajakayie is in front of goal, having been a prolific scorer for Leafe in the previous 2 seasons.
The early chances fell to the hosts, the first ironically from a Leafe free kickthat was cleared and saw Ajakayie through woth only Matthew O'Donoghue between him and Tyler McCarthy in the Leafe goal, but a great saving tackle stopped him in his tracks. In the 16th minute a corner found Bamba in a good position. He beat 2 defenders before hitting his shot that was well saved by McCarthy. 2 minutes later another corner was cleared as far as Sam Adams just outside the box. His shot took a deflection but McCarthy adapted well to save.
Leafe, somewhat against the run of play were gifted a goal in the 19th minute. Hastings had a free kick 25 yards out from their own goal. Sam Cruttwell played it to no one in particular and saw Bryan Akongo react quickest to reach the ball and place his first time shot neatly into the far corner of the net out of the reach of the diving Charlie Horlock. From here the half was even with both sides creating chances. Bamba had a shot well tipped over by McCarthy following good work from Golding then Harrison Carnegie went close for Leafe with a curling 25 yard shot just beyond the far post.
Shortly after this Jamahl Howlett-Mundle was very fortunate to stay on the pitch when he stamped on Eddie DSane following a challenge but this was somehow unnoticed by the referee and assistant. McCarthy did well to come out ant tackle Bamba when he was clean through, but then in the 36th minute failed to hold on to a cross from the winger recently signed from Walton Casuals, leaving Jack Dixon a simple header from close range to equalise. Akongo had two late chances in the half, heading wide from a Carnegie cross then in stoppage time spotted Horlock way off his line but his 40 yard attempt to chip him was wide of the target.
The first fifteen minutes of the second half gave no clue as to what was about to happen, but the next fifteen minutes were all Leafe and they took full advantage of this period of dominance, scoring 3 goals to virtually settle the tie. Emmanuel Mensah conceded a penalty by bringing down DSane and after a 3 minute delay with both sides pushing and shoving arguing over the matter, DSane kept his cool and blasted the spot kick home to give Leafe the lead. Mensah was punished for this shortly afterwards by being withdrawn, despite having only come on at half time.
Akongo had a great chance to increase the lead in the 68th minute but blasted over from close range. Two minutes later Leafe extended the lead with the help of another bizarre incident from the hosts. Left back Christie dashed off the pitch and down the tunnel with no substitute ready, leaving Hastings with 10 men. DSane took full advantage of the space, running into the box and taking the ball round a defender and Horlock before slotting the ball into the empty net. Christie reappeared a few minutes later looking to come back on but by that time a substitution had been made.
Leafe put the game out of reach of the hosts in the 75th minute when Bentley Graham played a neat one two on the edge of the box before breaking clear of the defence and rounding Horlock to score Leafe's fourth. Carnegie nearly made it 5 in the 80th minute but Horlock made a good save, Hastings staged a grandstand finish to the game in the final five minutes plus stoppage time, but it was too little too late. Holder brought down Adams in the box, the Hastings skipper stepped up himself to take the penalty. McCarthy made a great double save, firstly to deny Adams spot kick, then a point blank save from Bamba following up. Two minutes later McCarthy made another fine save from Adams, and Dixon's shot from the rebound was blocked. Ajakayie did finally get his goal in the second minute of stoppage time, cutting into the box and hitting a good low shot into the net but by this time it was just a consolation. Leafe eagerly look forward to the next round on 27th October.
Leafe; McCarthy, Wilson, O'Donoghue, Campbell, Thompson, Holder, Carnegie (Lukuni 90+4), Graham, D'Sane (Chin 87), Akongo (Hattabi 89), Hector. Subs not used Akoto, Webber.