Having found themselves in the Development League Cup semi-final after only having to play one tie, Hastings were clearly focused on getting to the final when they included 7 of the 1st team squad in the starting XI, with another 3 on the bench. As well as loan ‘keeper Rogers, Pritchard and Crutwell in defence and Tom Climpson in midfield, they also fielded Janneh, Adams and Dixon in shirt numbers 8, 9 and 10. A slight contrast to the Rams, whose starting XI included three academy players who fought out a tiring title decider at Barnet Lane in the pouring rain the day before.
Although the Rams played valiantly, with all things considered it was too much to overcome, and the experienced Hastings front line caused the youngsters’ defence problems on a number of occasions, and by half-time had a 2-0 lead.
Ten minutes after the interval a freekick was half-cleared by the Rams, and their hosts made no mistake with the 2nd chance and extended the deficit to 3, while on 66 a low cross from the right took 3 deflections to its path through the area before going in at the far post to make it 4-0. The introduction of Jordan Bartlett and Ollie Harris for the final 1/3 of the game saw the Rams providing more of a threat, and a run through the middle by Bartlett saw him stab the ball goal-bound past Rogers as the ‘keeper challenged and floored him, but quick back-tracking by a Hastings defender saw him poke it just past the post before it crossed the line. From the resulting corner Niall Salisbury outjumped the defence to give the Rams a consolation goal, and although the youngsters chased the game until the final whistle the damage had already been done.
Updated 08:43 - 4 May 2018 by Martin Able