Cup loss, league win: Hastings United boss is glad it was that way round
A defeat in the FA Cup and a win in the league. And Hastings United boss Chris Agutter was glad it was not the other way round.
His team put in a brave effort in their Cup fourth qualifying round tie at Maidenhead but lost 3-1, missing the chance of a prized first round spot. But three nights later they showed there was no hangover as they clinched a 3-0 Isthmian south east division win at Hythe to continue their climb up the table.
Agutter, although disappointed to go out of the FA Cup, said that added up to a positive week.
“I said to the players, we’ve lost in the Cup but won in the league and that’s a good week, where if we’d won in the Cup but lost in the league it would have been a bad week.”
His comments show the resolve the club have to win promotion to the Isthmian premier this year, having missed out in each of the previous two campaigns, cut short by Covid.
At National League Maidenhead on Saturday, a Kenny Pogue goal gave Hastings hope of progress when he made it 2-1, but a Maidenhead third just after the break sealed it.
Agutter said: “We were not anywhere near our best but the opposition showed why they’re in the National League. We had a great chance to make it 2-2 at one stage and their third was offside, and I don’t think most watching would have thought we were three divisions below them.”
Teams often suffer dips in league form after Cup runs but Hastings were straight back to winning ways at Hythe, where goals from Sam Hasler (penalty), Sam Adams and Pogue made it four wins in a row in the league, with United three points off the top five with games in hand.
“We weren’t great, but all season there’s not been one performance that’s been anywhere near complete – we’re not dominating games from start to finish,” he said.
“But we’re good in both boxes. We can keep teams out and we carry a threat at the other end.”
Hastings go to bottom side Phoenix Sports on Saturday then host Ashford on Tuesday. Agutter said: “Phoenix are in a false position and Ashford are always tough, though we love midweek games. It’ll be useful to start catching up with some league games.”
Read Bob Quinn’s match reports at hastingsobserver.co.uk/sport