Chris Agutter praises Hastings academy as youthful United claim Velocity Trophy win

Hastings United manager Chris Agutter praised his club’s academy set-up after a youthful Hastings United side made it three wins from three in the Velocity Trophy, overcoming Haywards Heath Town 1-0 on Tuesday night.

Wednesday, 23rd October 2019, 4:58 pm
Lanre Azeez. Haywards Heath Town v Hastings United. Picture by Scott White

Tom Chalmers’ second minute strike proved to be the difference as the two sides met for the second time in four days.

Finishing Saturday’s encounter with a point apiece, Agutter made nine changes to the starting eleven, including many players from the club’s under-23 and under-19 sides.

Agutter said: “It was a really positive night because they were virtually full strength and we’ve brought in a few of the players that needed game time. It was a very impressive performance and one which really challenges us with team selection.

“It emphasises the quality of the work that’s going on in the academy because we’ve got players that have done exceptionally well.”

The Hastings manager was in particular praise of the goalscorer. He said: “Tom Chalmers has now started three first team games and scored three goals. He’s just been promoted to the first team squad from the academy and when you’re producing players like that it’s a matter of time until they’re given regular football.

“Tom’s at a point now where he’s really challenging the more established players because every time he’s played he’s been excellent. And the thing is, we weren’t playing against the reserves, we were playing against their first team and 1-0 didn’t really affect how dominant the performance was.”

Hastings were in front after two minutes when intense pressure from Davide Rodari led to Chalmers intercepting a loose ball before slotting home.

The U’s went close again when a chipped ball down the wing was chased and drilled in low by Rodari, and Kenny Pogue was inches from reaching it but for the defender’s interference.

Nine minutes later and Rodari was in again after he cut inside on the edge of the box and despite seeing his first strike blocked, his second effort whistled just past the post.

Ryan Worrall came close to doubling the lead on the stroke of half-time when pinball on the edge of the box saw the ball fall to Worrall who forced a good save from Luke Glover.

Hastings managed to edge out their cross-county rivals in a quiet second-half with a positively dominant performance.

Hastings are in FA Trophy action this Saturday (October 26) where they face a long trip up to Bedfordshire to play Southern League Division One Central outfit AFC Dunstable.

Hastings United: Rogers, Black, Hull, Weeks, Elliott, Rodari, Pogue, Chalmers, Worrall, Pool, Lovatt. Unused: Moynes, Hull, Adams, Warren, Dixon.