Alex Easton became an instant Hayling hero as his debut hat-trick helped the Humbugs to a stunning 5-2 victory at Blackfield & Langley last night.
Easton’s treble and further strikes from Aaron Kinchen and Lenny Burney gave Steve Poulton’s men a thoroughly deserved win – and boosted their hopes of avoiding relegation from the Wessex League premier division.
Blackfield started the clash stronger and Humbugs keeper Lloyd Patilla had to save a fine header from striker Bobby Scott, which was heading for the roof of his net.
Patilla then did well to race out and block Beng Ngwa’s point-blank effort as Hayling’s defence was opened up by a pacy Blackfield move.
On 15 minutes, the visitors were inches away from an opener when Lee Tigwell’s huge throw-in was met by Kinchen, who sent a header flashing just over the crossbar.
Hayling kept the pressure on, and this finally told midway through the half when they shook the hosts by taking the lead.
It was all thanks to a defence-splitting run by Easton, who set up Kinchen to blast his shot past keeper Luke Hutchings from the edge of the area.
As play switched to the other end, Tigwell did well to clear Scott’s shot off the line, before Patilla produced the goods again, denying Ngwa who looked firm favourite to equalise.
Just before the interval, another fine move between Burney and Easton presented Kinchen with a chance that he shot into the arms of the keeper.
Moments later, though, Hutchings was forced to retrieve the ball from the back of his net as Hayling doubled their advantage.
That followed a fine move and devastating finish from Burney, who lashed home a shot from long distance.
And seconds before the referee brought the half to a close, Kinchen set up Easton to thump home a third from close range.
Hayling began the second half as they had finished the first – in complete control and looking to increase their commanding lead.
And it was a special goal from Easton that gave notice that there was little or no way back for Blackfield.
He charged through before beating Hutchings as the keeper raced out to narrow the angle.
The home side introduced former Pompey striker Warren Hunt from the bench and soon pulled a goal back through Nathan Lynch.
He eased his way through to slot home a fine solo effort.
And moments later former Gosport Borough striker Lynch struck again when he darted in to meet a cross from Hunt to head a second.
But that was as good as it got for Blackfield who saw Easton race clear to complete his hat-trick and ensure all three points went back to the College Ground.
Blackfield & Langley: Hutchings, Austin, Kimber, Harfield, Vickers, Clarke, Settle, Steer, Scott, Ngwa, Bowerman. Subs: Collins, Lucas, Hunt, Newman, Lynch.
Hayling: Patilla, Watts, Hayward, Gadd, Thornton, Baker, Kinchen, Black, Burney, Easton, Tigwell. Subs: Carter, Kendall, Summers.
Referee: Graham Matthews (Fareham)