Invicta exited the Velocity Cup on Tuesday night as Andy Drury bedded in a new look front line after 2 weekends without a fixture.
Invicta had an entire front 3 making their debuts for the club with Tom Derry flanked by Joe Boachie and Ruben Soarer-Junior who was only confirmed a few hours before kick off.
Fellow new signings Chris Sessegnon and Seidou Sanogo missed out due to having played in the competition for previous clubs. Jake Goodman was also cup-tied, meaning that with Callum Davies still serving a suspension from his dismissal at Dulwich Hamlet last month, Will Moses stepped into the back 4 alongside Ian Gayle, Kane Penn and Toby Byron, with Chris Regis, Scott Heard and Ade Cole making up a midfield 3.
Luke Holness returned from injury to join David Smith on the bench as well as Andre Coker who has finished his loan spell with Carshalton and academy midfielder Brad Walledge. Goalkeeper Luke Watkins took the final spot.
Players, officials and supporters held a minutes silence before kick off for the late William Brown Jr who sadly passed away last week.
The visitors had the first chance of the evening coming from a long throw that would prove to be a threat all night. Invicta responded soon after with Soarer-Junior heading down a cross from Scott Heard that just evaded Tom Derry before being scooped over the crossbar by a defender on the goal-line.
Ollie Black picked up the evening’s first caution as he caught Boachie with a challenge wide on the right. Scott Heard delivered the free kick that eventually fell to Soares-Junior who fired just wide.
It wasn’t until just after an interruption for an injury 10 minutes before half time that the game was opened up. After Sam Okoye limped off to be replaced by Jamal Lubanga the visitors worked a move down the Invicta right that resulted in John Ufuah crossing for Davide Rodari to head home from close range.
Invicta upped the tempo in response; a Boachie cross narrowly evaded Derry and Soares-Junior in the box, a Scott Heard corner fell eventually to Soares-Junior who was again denied on the goal-line before the left winger had the final change of the first half as he collected a cross at the back post before firing it into the arms of Charlie Grainger in the Hastings goal.
Invicta made a planned substitution at half time with Luke Watkins replacing Joe Coleman in goal for the second half.
Invicta threatened early in the second half. Soares-Junior continued his promising end to the 1st period with a cross that just evaded Derry and Boachie before Ade Cole came closest to an equaliser as he dribbled into the penalty area and thundered an effort against the post that ricocheted off the back of Grainger and out for a corner.
As Invicta continued to press for an equaliser Toby Byron picked up a booking while David Smith replaced Tom Derry and then Andre Coker made his 1st appearance since September following his loan to Carshalton as he replaced Soares-Junior.
But Coker had not even touched the football when the game was pulled away from Invicta’s grasp. Ufuah fed the ball into Jamal Lubanga in space in the Invicta penalty area, Watkins saved the initial effort but was unable to prevent Lubanga doubling the Hastings advantage at the second time of asking.
Will Moses had the ball in the Hastings net but the flag was up for offside against Smith who had got onto the end of a free kick from Ade Cole and turned it into the path of the young defender.
Invicta send on Holness and Walledge in place of Heard and Regis but the final chance of the evening came from the visitors who curled an effort from distance past the post in injury time.
Invicta head into the weekend looking to bounce back as we return to league action with a trip to Horsham
Man of the Match was Ade Cole, selected by Ade Dawkes and Charlie Prescott from match sponsors Invicta Radio