Chris Agutter said he was proud of the way his Hastings United Football Club team performed in last weekend’s dramatic draw at Hythe Town.
A last gasp George Taggart goal earned Hastings a 2-2 draw moments after they had fallen behind in a thrilling finish to the Bostik League Division One South fixture.
Hastings manager Agutter said: “When we went 2-1 down, I said ‘irrelevant of the scoreline, I’m so proud of the manner in which we played’. We’ve forced Hythe, on their own patch, to defend their 18-yard box and counter-attack.
“We’ve been so dominant for the best part of an hour to 75 minutes and we played our way, our brand of football for 90 minutes.
“If we had won that game comfortably and been out of sight at half time, I don’t think they could’ve complained. The two goals we conceded were both individual errors; it wasn’t like they cut through us.”
Hastings are now unbeaten in eight league matches (nine in all competitions) and over the last six games, Carshalton Athletic are the only team in the division to have picked up more than the 12 points Hastings have taken.
“We’re a very good side,” continued Agutter. “I’m not getting to carried away, I believe in what we’ve got on the pitch. We’ve got a very good group of young players playing an exciting brand of football.
“There’s nothing better than reinforcing what we’re talking about off the pitch than points on the board, winning games of football and outperforming decent opposition. I think it says a lot that we’ve come away disappointed that we’ve only drawn the game (against Hythe).”
Agutter described Charlie Horlock, Ollie Rowe and Sam Cruttwell as ‘outstanding’ last weekend, and said young Tom Climpson ‘played like a 36-year-old seasoned non-league player’. He also praised Dayshonne Golding for taking responsibility and not hiding despite being nowhere near his best.
Hastings will return to home turf for the visit of Whyteleafe tomorrow (Saturday). Hastings, currently 14th, will go above 10th-placed Leafe, who haven’t won any of their last six games, with a victory. The two teams have had 18 draws between them this term.
“I know their manager and he will leave no stone unturned,” said Agutter. “They will have had us watched and will look to put a plan in place.
“But we’re not standing still. Against Hythe we introduced three or four different new ideas ahead of that game on the Thursday and in the behind-closed-doors friendly on Tuesday night there was another three or four new ideas.”
A couple of triallists performed very well in that game and Hastings were confident of signing one of them, Antonio Walker, who scored that night. The left winger has spent time at AFC Wimbledon and Crystal Palace in the past.
“He’s very young, mobile and athletic,” added Agutter. “Similar to Dayshonne Golding, an out-and-out winger.
“We’re lacking real electric pace. I do like to have two out-and-out flyers down the side. From East Sussex Division Six to the Premier League, one thing that translates across all of it is pace and power.”
Hastings will hope to welcome back Davide Rodari (calf injury) and Adam Lovatt, who missed the Hythe game following emergency dental treatment. Long-term injury victim Sam Cole played 45 minutes for the development squad on Monday.