“We must learn how to win”

Hastings United midfielder Jamie Crellin on the ball against Whitehawk on Easter Monday. Picture by Terry S. Blackman
Hastings United midfielder Jamie Crellin on the ball against Whitehawk on Easter Monday. Picture by Terry S. Blackman

Hastings United must start learning how to win football matches according to player-manager Sean Ray.

The club’s Ryman Football League Premier Division survival quest is set to be decided by the outcome of 10 games in 22 days, starting this weekend.

Speaking after the 2-1 defeat to Bognor Regis Town in a Sussex Senior Cup semi-final last night (Wednesday), Ray said: “We’ve just got to learn how to win a game of football. First half I thought we were the better side, but we gave sloppy goals away and we’ve got to learn how to win a game of football.

“First half we showed what a good side we can be, driving forward and looking positive. But when you’re on top, that’s when you’ve got to score. It’s disappointing because that’s a great chance they’ve missed tonight.”

United remain in the second and final relegation position, although they only trail third-bottom Thurrock on goal difference having played the same number of matches. The U’s are three points adrift of fourth-bottom Lewes with four games in hand.

“I’m confident of getting out of it, but I don’t know if the players are,” continued Ray. “There’s a lack of confidence and killer instinct. I know what these players are capable of - they proved it for 45 minutes tonight - but somehow we’ve got to pick them up and somehow they’ve got to get this confidence back. They’ve got to believe in themselves and believe in each other.”

With the games continuing to come thick and fast, United travel to Bognor on Saturday and Kingstonian on Monday night before hosting Harrow Borough next Thursday night. “Every game’s a cup final,” added Ray. “We don’t want to be prioritising games; anybody can beat anybody in this league.”