Romford 0 Hastings United 1
Buildbase FA Trophy Preliminary Round
Report by Phil Redwin
Romford disappointingly bowed out of the FA Trophy despite having home advantage against Hastings United from the Bostik South.
Despite doing the majority of the attacking Boro could not fashion a reply to Jack Dixon’s 16th minute header, but the whole lead up to the winning goal was mired in controversy. The referee was certainly not up with play when failing to spot the foul that dispossessed Greg Akpele in midfield and then even further behind when moments later awarding a decision to Hastings for the mildest of collisions as two players were simply competing for the loose ball. The free kick was hit into the heart of the Romford area and Dixon was able to cleverly skim his header past Stephen Reynolds.
From there on in the first period Romford put plenty of attacking moves together in midfield that failed to make much impression on a very solid and resolute Hastings defence, although they were a whisker away from equalising when Akpele’s cross only just eluded the forehead of Connor Hammond at the far post.
The second half was a lot more entertaining for the decent sized Sunday lunchtime crowd with Romford looking more penetrative, but being completely out of luck in front of goal. As early as the fifty third minute Jonathan Adebayo went on a jinking run into the penalty area and after his initial on target attempt was charged down no other Boro man could seize on the loose ball in front of goal. Nine minutes later Craig Jeakins’ cross, driven in hard and low from the right was just the start of a mini shooting gallery with Boro players lining up to take pot shots. Everybody was expecting to see the net bulge at any moment, but every effort was deflected or blocked by some great Hastings last ditch defending before the ball finally ricocheted clear.
Paul Martin made attacking substitutions with Nick Reynolds coming on to pose more of an aerial threat but these inevitably left Romford more exposed at the back so Danny Cossington and Michael Finneran had to be alert on a number of occasions to break up some swift breakaways by the visitors. The Sussex men also indulged in some time wasting which inevitably was not punished by the referee with barely enough being added at the end for injury stoppages. Boro continued to create half chances right up to the final whistle with Reynolds going closest in seventy sixth minute after the keeper fumbled a speculative Adebayo shot but Lady Luck certainly seems to have deserted them at the moment.
Romford: Stephen Reynolds, Ayo Olukoga, Hugo Atkinson (Ben Clarke 48′), Danny Cossington, Michael Finneran, James Ishmail, Jonathan Adebayo, Joanthan Nzengo, Vlad Sighiartau, Greg Akpele (Nick Reynolds 76′), Connor Hammond (Craig Jeakins 60′).
Hastings United: Charlie Horlock, John Akoto, Ollie Black, Lee Carey, Rhys Whybourne, Ollie Rowe, Sam Cruttwell (Davide Rodari 60′) , Jack Dixon, Sam Adams, Kenny Pogue, Sam Beale (Adam Lovatt 89′).
Scorer – Sam Adams (16′)