Hastings boss praises ruthlessness in 5-1 win

Chris Agutter praised the ruthlessness of his Hastings United Football Club team after making a super start to the season.

Hastings kicked-off their 2018/19 Bostik League South East Division campaign with a 5-1 win at home to Thamesmead Town last weekend.

Daniel Ajakaiye celebrates his second goal during Hastings United's 5-1 win at home to Thamesmead Town last weekend. Picture courtesy Scott White

Daniel Ajakaiye celebrates his second goal during Hastings United's 5-1 win at home to Thamesmead Town last weekend. Picture courtesy Scott White

Agutter, Hastings’ manager, said: “It was a really good start. The result was very pleasing. It’s difficult straight after the game to digest it really, but what we did do today was take our chances, which we complained about all last year. Today we certainly did that.

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“We probably created eight or nine, but I thought we were a lot more ruthless today than we have been in the previous season so that’s a step in the right direction definitely.

“Last year how many times did we go a goal down, then for 70 odd minutes we’re plugging away on the edge of their box? There’s a lot more leaders and characters in the dressing room now. The younger lads are a bit more mature and they’ve been there in that situation.

“I just felt we showed a bit more maturity, didn’t panic and even when we went 1-0 down we straight away got on with it and worked our way back into the game.”

Sam Cruttwell goes up for a header at The Pilot Field last weekend. Picture courtesy Scott White

Sam Cruttwell goes up for a header at The Pilot Field last weekend. Picture courtesy Scott White

Hastings came from behind to lead 2-1 at the break and sealed their victory with three more goals from the 78th minute onwards.

“Any team that’s chasing us will be liable to being exposed on the break, which is what you saw in the last 20 minutes,” Agutter continued.

“I don’t want to be a counter-attacking side, but there’s obviously moments in the game where if you’ve got that in your locker to counter-attack quickly, you’ve got to exploit those opportunities.

“Where we went 3-1 up, Thamesmead really went for it in the last 20 minutes and I think we went up through the gears. We’ve got so much pace in the side and if teams leave gaps, we can hurt them.”

Agutter was pleased for forward Daniel Ajakaiye to quickly open his account for the season after scoring the final two goals.

“He was excellent today,” he said. “We asked him to do a different type of job today - he had to do almost a job-and-a-half without the ball and did really well. All his work back to goal, span the channels, his pressing was excellent.

“After he scored the penalty, straight away the weight lifted off his shoulders, he’s run half the length of the pitch and finished brilliantly to get the second so I’m really pleased for him.

“I said he was a striker so I feel a little bit vindicated, but as I said, one game doesn’t make a season. You just want to start as you mean to go on, which I think we’ve done.”

Hastings will be eager to build on their opening day win when they make the long trip to Ramsgate tomorrow (Saturday).

Ramsgate lost 2-1 away to VCD Athletic in their opening game and fielded former Hastings attacking player Harry Stannard in their starting XI.

“We’ll have a look at Ramsgate - we’ve had them watched today - and the same as every game, put a plan together and try to put the right squad together to win the game,” added Agutter. “It’s really about picking the right squad for each game in its own right.

“One thing that happened today is all the subs came on and did great. It’s so nice to turn round to the bench and know you’ve got players who can make a difference, you’re not questioning whether or not they can have an influence on the game. We’ve got loads of options.

Sam Adams is away, but fellow midfielder Jack Dixon will be back after missing the Thamesmead game through suspension.

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