Boss hails “massive improvement”

Hastings United player-manager Sean Ray. Picture by Richard Parkes
Hastings United player-manager Sean Ray. Picture by Richard Parkes

Sean Ray hailed the “massive improvement” of his Hastings United side yesterday (Saturday).

The U’s dug in to earn a hard-fought 1-1 draw away to play-off chasing Canvey Island less than 48 hours after losing 4-1 at home to fellow strugglers Carshalton Athletic in the Ryman Football League Premier Division.

United player-manager Ray said: “It was hard-earned. It was difficult conditions; the wind made it really, really difficult, but it was a massive improvement from Thursday. We don’t want to dwell on Thursday. First half was okay; second half we let ourselves down, let the football club down and let the supporters down.

“Out of all the performances lately, the only one we were disappointed in was Carshalton. Everybody knows that wasn’t right. You can make the excuses we were tired, but on the night we weren’t good enough. We didn’t defend properly and that includes me.

“But we’ve bounced back and we’ve bounced back in the right way. We dug in in the first half and second half I thought we were the better side. We looked more threatening and we looked the more capable side of scoring; it was just that final decision or final pass that let us down.”

Canvey bossed the first half and after a string of chances went begging, the Essex side finally broke the deadlock through Harrison Chatting in the 45th minute. But United replied almost instantly via Zac Attwood and produced a much-improved display after the break.

“The goal did give us a lift,” continued Ray. “We tinkered with one or two things at half time, particularly the wide players, and they did exactly what we asked of them. We proved today we can match these sides that are up there.”

United remain bottom of the table and are two points behind Wingate & Finchley, who occupy the final safe spot of third-from-bottom, with a game in hand. The U’s have three matches remaining, away to Bury Town on Tuesday and East Thurrock United on Thursday, and at home to Kingstonian next Saturday.

Ryman Premier bottom seven (played-points): Harrow Borough 39-41, Cray Wanderers 40-41, Lewes 40-39, Thurrock 40-38, Wingate & Finchley 40-38, Carshalton Athletic 41-37, HASTINGS UNITED 39-36.