Now or never for United

Alassane N'Diaye on the ball during Hastings United's 1-1 draw at Canvey Island on Saturday. Picture by Simon Newstead
Alassane N'Diaye on the ball during Hastings United's 1-1 draw at Canvey Island on Saturday. Picture by Simon Newstead

Hastings United go into the final three days of their season needing to pull off the proverbial great escape to preserve their Ryman Football League Premier Division status.

United travel to fifth-placed East Thurrock United tonight (Thursday) lying bottom of the table and two points behind a Wingate & Finchley side which occupies the final safe spot of third-from-bottom.

“We’ve got it all to do and we’re relying on other teams, but we’ve only got ourselves to blame,” said player-manager Sean Ray. “Tiredness is there, but at the end of the day the players have got to take the responsibility for it (the club’s predicament).

“Tonight is going to tell us everything we need to know. I feel if we can win tonight, we can get out of it by the skin of our teeth. We don’t want to be going into the last game of the season relying on other results to go our way.”

Victory in Essex could lift United outside the drop zone if Wingate fail to win at home to second-placed Lowestoft Town. Defeat for United, however, might result in them being relegated if Wingate win.

It may all come down to the final day on Saturday when United host Kingstonian, Wingate entertain Cray Wanderers and second-bottom Carshalton Athletic go to Enfield Town.

United took four points off East Thurrock and Kingstonian in the reverse fixtures. “Maybe four points might just be enough, but really I think nothing less than six points will do,” added Ray.

Elsewhere tonight, Rye United will seek an instant response to their 5-0 defeat at Lingfield on Tuesday as they travel to East Preston in Sussex County Football League Division One. Fourth-placed EP and fifth-placed Rye fought out a goalless draw in the reverse fixture this time last week.

In the same division, Sidley United will make the tough trip to Lingfield. Dan Cruikshank remains sidelined with the injury which forced him off during the 2-1 loss away to Crowborough Athletic two days ago and Chris Rea misses out through work, but Gregg Berry is due to return.

The games involving Hastings and Sidley will kick-off at 7.45pm, while the Rye match will begin at 7.30pm. Return to this website later tonight to find out the results.