Hopkinson confident of beating drop

Jason Hopkinson is confident that Hastings United can retain their place in the Premier Division of the Ryman Football League.

But Hopkinson, who picked up his first win as Hastings boss at home to Tooting & Mitcham United last weekend, expects the relegation battle to go right to the wire.

He said: “I’m confident all the time it’s in our hands. If I go into the last game knowing we need to get something out of the last game, I will be confident. And it looks like it could go down to that.”

Hastings remain in the final safe spot of fifth-from-bottom despite seeing their three-match unbeaten run come to an end with a 3-0 loss at fifth-placed Billericay Town on Tuesday night.

But it’s all very tight down there with the bottom five separated by just three points. Despite appearing to be cast adrift from the rest of the division, they produced three wins and two draws between them on Saturday.

Hastings now embark on a run of four consecutive games against teams in the top half of the table. The last three of these matches are against sides currently occupying the play-off places, although each of them are at home.

First up is a trip to 11th-placed AFC Hornchurch tomorrow (Saturday) followed by the always eagerly-anticipated derby at home to Tonbridge Angels - Hastings’ final scheduled midweek evening fixture of the season - on Tuesday.

Scott Chalmers-Stevens is out through injury and Seb Barton is expected to take his place having signed from Eastbourne Borough. Barton has made four first team appearances for the Sports this season, three in the FA Trophy.

Tim Olorunda is likely to undergo a fitness test before the Hornchurch game and Sam Adams is away for the next two matches. Ashley Robinson has been released after dropping out of the Billericay fixture at short notice.

The full article can be found in today’s Hastings Observer.

SATURDAY’S SENIOR FOOTBALL FIXTURES (KICK-OFF 3PM UNLESS STATED)

Ryman League, Premier Division: AFC Hornchurch v Hastings Utd.

Sussex County League, Division 1: Rye Utd v Redhill; Sidley Utd v Ringmer.

Division 2: Bexhill Utd v Rustington; Clymping v Westfield 2; Steyning Town v Little Common.