WCFC went into this game with a few injury concerns and only a squad of 12 available. Missing this week were Wolters, McCafferty, Hills, Hilditch, Leppard and Daly.
It seemed on arrival that some of the Hastings players were not too impressed by our pitch and were even amazed that the players were helping to set up the pitch prior to the game. This helped Chilt and we were really up for this one.
The first half was fairly even but Chilt probably had the better chances. Gary Weedon was causing the Hastings defence problems but just couldn't quite capitalise. Tom Rickman was asked to play right midfield this week and his runs were causing the Hastings left back all sorts of problems. It was Hastings who took the lead when a Scott Pulling defensive header fell to a Hastings striker who took a couple of quality touches and finished in the bottom corner. Chilt equalised with the move of the match. Monaghan and Weedon linked up smartly in the middle of the park and worked the ball to Craig Pulling who played a neat one-two with Rickman on the edge of the box. Pulling squared the ball to De Gruchy who finished calmly from 6 yards. This goal came on the stroke of half time and Chilt really deserved the equaliser.
The game was very tight in the second half with Hastings displaying some nice passing football but as ever Holt and Langley were having great games and stopping many of the attacks. The game really came to life with 15 minutes remaining. Weedon was hauled down outside the box, and the number 6 of Hastings grabbed the ball and prevented Chilt from taking a quick free-kick. There was a slight melee following this incident with 3 players being booked. It was actually a blessing in disguise that a quick free kick was prevented as Monaghan then stepped up and dispatched the free kick, which the Hastings keeper could only get a hand to.
Hastings equalised with 5 minutes remaining when their best player rose highest at a corner kick and headed superbly into the top corner. With just a minute remaining, Chilt won another free kick near the edge of the box. This time the keeper could not even get a touch as Monaghan placed the free kick right into the top corner, an unbelievable strike.
Hastings had some talented players but we matched in terms of quality and displayed a greater desire. This was a great result and we are looking forward to the next round, where we are at home to Montpelier Villa.
Some excellent performances this week. Josh Burns was quality in central midfield and Tom Rickman worked tirelessly on the right of midfield. However, M.O.M had to go to Charlie Monaghan.