An injury-time winner from Hasting’s Evan Archibald saw the visitors pinch all three points with a 2-1 win over Horsham at Gorings Mead tonight.
It was a much-improved showing under interim manager Anthony Storey, but it was Archibald that came back to haunt his former club and net the winner in the 92nd minute to keep the hosts five points adrift at the foot of the Ryman League South Division table.
Hastings on the other hand had were happy to celebrate a win under newly-appointed Nigel Kane who took charge yesterday as the predecessor of Dominic Di Paola who stepped down last week.
Di Paola was in the ground watching his old side, while former Whitehawk boss Darren Freeman also decided to take in the game.
The home side handed starts to four of their new signings as Calum Sheriff and Tom Hughes started at centre-back, Richie Welsh was in central midfielder and Gregg Berry the lone striker.
One of this season’s stand-out Horsham performers Tom Gilbert, was deployed just in front of the back four.
The open exchanges were frantic and the home side had a pace to their game, although the visitors stood strong and were quick to snuff out any attacks.
A dangerous Oli Lockyer corner whipped across the face of goal and averted everyone on 14 minutes, while shortly after, at the other end, an Ade Olorunda cross found Kenny Pogue, who teed up Sam Adams, but the U’s man fired high and wide.
Tony Nwachukwu thought he had given the hosts the lead on 19 minutes as he neatly flicked home Lockyer’s cross, but was a yard offside.
Hastings’ failed to make the most of a generous free kick on the edge of the area three minutes later as Adams fired well over from a promising opportunity.
Lockyer curled a free kick onto the top of Josh Pelling’s goal, before, on 32 minutes, Gareth Williams spilt a set piece, but it hit a Hastings arm as Adams hooked towards goal.
Hastings had a penalty shout waved away seven minutes before the break as the overlapping Steve Brinkhurst’s ball from the right struck Hughes’ arm when he was on the ground, although it was entirely accidental.
The second half was just five minutes old when a misplaced Hughes pass across the back four rolled to Adams, who opted to hit the ball first-time from 22 yards which never troubled Williams.
Hastings started the second half the stronger and smart blocks were needed by the Horsham defence from a couple of dangerous free kicks.
They did, however, take the lead on the hour mark as the ball was switched right by Taser Hassan to Brinkhurst and his low cross was drilled home by the arriving Adams from 12 yards.
Horsham’s best move of the second half came after Nwachukwu stole the ball and the home side shifted it left and right before Lockyer’s shot was blocked.
That seemed to spark the home side into life and a Lockyer shot was parried by Pelling and the goalkeeper wiped out Nwachukwu as he tried to get on the follow up.
Referee Alex Gray pointed straight to the spot and Nwachukwu picked himself to finish into the bottom left with 12 minutes remaining.
Substitute and debutant George Blanford was inches away from giving Horsham the lead on 86 minutes as a superb cross-field pass set Harry Smith away on the right and he cut the ball back to his team-mate just inside box.
Smith continued to cause problems in the closing stages, but the Hastings’ line held strong and headed away plenty of balls into the box.
Deep into injury-time it was the visitors that pinched all three points as a free kick was lofted up from their own half and Sean Ray headed down to Archibald, who smashed past Williams.
Horsham: Williams, Page, Hughes (Akande 81), Sherriff, Hamilton, Nwachukwu, Morley, Gilbert, Welch (Smith 64), Nwachukwu, Berry (Blandford 64). Unused subs: Miller, Blaney
Hastings United: Pelling, Brinkhurst, Rose, Ray, Cruttwell, Logan, Vickers (Wooley 60), Adams, Hassan, Olorunda (Archibald 67), Pogue (Robinson 83). Unused subs: Robinson, Hanafin.