Hastings seek swift return to winning ways

Sam Cruttwell evades a tackle during Hastings United's 2-0 defeat away to Hitchin Town in the Emirates FA Cup last weekend. Picture courtesy Scott White
Sam Cruttwell evades a tackle during Hastings United's 2-0 defeat away to Hitchin Town in the Emirates FA Cup last weekend. Picture courtesy Scott White

Hastings United Football Club will be aiming to hit straight back from its disappointing Emirates FA Cup exit with a victory in another FA competition.

Having lost 2-0 away to Hitchin Town in FA Cup third round qualifying last weekend, Chris Agutter’s side will host Whyteleafe in the Buildbase FA Trophy preliminary round today (Saturday).

The teams lie fourth and fifth in the Bostik League South East Division, with Hastings ahead on goal difference having played two fewer matches. Kick-off at The Pilot Field is 3pm.

See also: * Hastings’ FA Cup run halted by Hitchin
* Golding double fires Hastings to FA Trophy triumph
* Hastings see off Horsham to consolidate second place

* Eight-man Hastings hold on for amazing FA Cup win

“It’s a game where we’re expected to win, and if we play to our standards and get our own house in order, we will win,” Agutter said.

“I think they’re a good side and they’re well-coached, but as with anyone that comes to The Pilot Field, if we bring our best game, we will win - and Whyteleafe are no exception to that.”

Hastings have won five of their first six league matches this season, and now possess an identical record in the various knockout competitions.

“If any supporters are disappointed, I think we need to take that as a compliment really,” Agutter added. “It’s been a great start, I think the best start the club’s had for a long time.

“The reaction we got to the two games we’ve lost has been quite big, but I wouldn’t want to be at a club where losing was accepted. It’s almost a back-handed compliment really.”

Hastings fielded a very strong side during a 5-0 win at home to Pagham in round one of the Sussex Under-23s Challenge Cup on Monday night.

“That was a really beneficial exercise because it got Saturday out of the system,” said Agutter, who confirmed that Sam Beale, Kelvin Ogboe, Sonny Dullaway, Antonio Walker and Emmanuel Mensah have all been carrying knocks.