FA Cup returns to The Pilot Field

Sean Kelly goes up for a header during Hastings United's 2-1 win away to Hythe Town last weekend. Picture by Terry S. Blackman

Sean Kelly goes up for a header during Hastings United's 2-1 win away to Hythe Town last weekend. Picture by Terry S. Blackman

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The excitement of the FA Cup returns to The Pilot Field today (Saturday) as Hastings United entertain Ramsgate.

It’s less than eight months ago that United’s historic run in last season’s competition came to an end with a gallant third round loss away to Championship big guns Middlesbrough.

United won through six rounds, including a memorable penalty shoot-out victory over Harrogate Town in a second round replay televised live on ESPN, to join all the Premier League giants in the last 64.

Although extremely unlikely to reproduce such a dazzling performance, United will nonetheless be keen to make decent progress in a competition which boasts not only prestige but considerable prize-money.

The two teams should be pretty familiar with each other because they met at The Pilot Field in Ryman Football League Division One South on Monday when United scored three goals in 12 second half minutes to turn a 1-0 deficit into a 3-1 victory.

Having watched that match from the stands, new manager John Maggs will take a more hands-on role today before taking part in a ‘meet the manager’ session with supporters in the clubhouse from 5pm.

Rye United, meanwhile, will be attempting to win two FA Cup matches in the same season for the first time ever as they travel to Chipstead today.

Rye have won their last three matches in all competitions to sit sixth in Sussex County Football League Division One, while Chipstead are third-from-bottom of Ryman Division One South - the next league up the pyramid - having lost five of their six games so far.

Elsewhere today, Little Common will be gunning to make it five successive Sussex County League Division Two victories as they host Wick & Barnham United and Bexhill United will travel to AFC Uckfield in the same division. Kick-off in all of these games is 3pm.

The new ADA East Sussex Football League season will also kick-off this afternoon.