Hayling United took another step towards survival in the top tier of Wessex League football by beating fellow strugglers Horndean 2-1 last night, courtesy of an Aaron Kinchen double.
Although still in the relegation spots, Steve Poulton’s Humbugs have closed the gap on New Milton Town and Dave Carter’s Deans to a single point after their derby victory at the College Ground.
But on another day Horndean could have won the match themselves.
They threatened early on as both Chamal Fenelon and Alex Miroy went close – as did the impressive Dan Hayes with a shot from long distance that crashed against the hosts’ crossbar.
But, until Fenelon thundered home a free-kick late on to pull a goal back, Horndean rarely looked like salvaging anything from the derby contest.
Indeed, once Hayling’s Kinchen had made the space for himself to thunder a long-range shot into the Horndean net on 35 minutes, defeat looked very much on the cards for the visitors.
And before they regained their composure, Hayling ripped them apart with another quality move that involved Ryan Gadd and Alex Easton.
That left Lenny Burney to let fly a shot that was no more than a couple of inches high of the target.
Whatever Carter said to his troops during the interval, it had some effect for the opening 10 minutes of the second half.
Before they took their foot off the pedal, Hayes went close to an equaliser, while Louis Bell was a toe-end away from converting a Miroy cross.
Flurry of activity over and 16-year-old Kinchen struck again to effectively kill off the match as a contest.
This time, he turned his marker and clipped the ball past Horndean keeper Simon Howard into the corner of the net.
Only then did Horndean show anything like their true colours as they looked to respond.
And although Fenelon’s free-kick had to be seen to believed – such was its ferocity – Hayling saw out the remaining ten minutes in some comfort to earn themselves three valuable points and the bragging rights from this derby.
Hayling United: Patilla, Watts, Gadd, Baker, Thornton, Black, Kinchen, Salter-Vaile, Easton, Burney, Vassallo. Substitutes: Tigwell, Wilson, Kendell, Fisher.
Horndean: Howard, Perkins, Stone, Shepherd, Chapman, Warren, Spurway, Hayes, Bell, Miroy, Chamal Fenelon. Substitutes: McKie, Cache Fenelon, Fennemore, Austin, Paxton.