Hastings seek to push on in league

Jack Harris on the ball for Hastings United against Tonbridge Angels on Tuesday night. Picture courtesy Joe Knight
Jack Harris on the ball for Hastings United against Tonbridge Angels on Tuesday night. Picture courtesy Joe Knight
  • Hastings United return to league action after five successive cup games
  • U’s will travel to Tooting & Mitcham United today
  • Last league match was at home to Worthing on September 22
  • United are 19th in the table with games in hand on all bar one club in the division
  • New boy Johnson in line to make league debut

Hastings United’s footballers will be eager to start climbing the table as they finally return to league action.

After five consecutive cup matches, the U’s have back-to-back away fixtures in Ryman Football League Division One South over the coming week.

We need to win the bulk of them (games in hand) and get ourselves into the position we should be.

Garry Wilson

The U’s will travel to Tooting & Mitcham United today (Saturday) before heading to Worthing on Tuesday night. Worthing, incidentally, were United’s last opponents in the league back on September 22.

United have slipped to 19th in the table as a result of their absence from league action, although they have games in hand on all bar one other team in the division.

U’s manager Garry Wilson said: “We need to win the bulk of them (games in hand) and get ourselves into the position we should be. I believe we’re capable if we play the way we can.”

United’s FA Cup progress was halted by a 2-0 loss at home to Poole Town in third round qualifying last weekend, but they put that disappointment behind them with an excellent penalty shoot-out win away to another higher grade side, Tonbridge Angels, in the Ryman League Alan Turvey Trophy, sponsored by Robert Dyas, on Tuesday.

“They were two different types of games, different competitions,” continued Wilson. “Saturday was a difficult tie against a very good side and they probably were the better team on the day, but we should be proud of ourselves for getting into that position. Us and Worthing were the last two teams from the division, and we did well to get through three rounds.

“Against Tonbridge the boys who came in did really well. It was disappointing to lose a goal early, but the second goal for us was one of the best footballing goals I’ve seen for a long time. They had chances, we had chances and a draw was probably fair.”

Simon Johnson played in both matches after dropping down two divisions to join the U’s from Maidstone United at the end of last week.

The former England schoolboy midfielder, 24, spent more than six years with Eastbourne Borough before joining Maidstone this summer.

“We feel his workrate, mobility and experience will take us a long way in this division,” added Wilson. “He’s not been playing and he just wants to play. He’s got a lot of friends at the club, and he knows me and Danny (Bloor, assistant boss).

“He’s a worker, he’s a tryer. He wins a lot of second ball, he’s mobile and keeps the game ticking over from midfield.”

Tom Vickers is suspended, but Wilson hopes Sean Ray will be fit. Zac Attwood will be assessed.

TODAY’S FOOTBALL FIXTURES

(Kick-off 3pm unless stated)

Ryman League, Division 1 South: Tooting & Mitcham Utd v Hastings Utd.

Macron Store Southern Combination League, Division 1: Bexhill Utd v Storrington; Steyning Town v Little Common.

Division 2: AFC Varndeanians v Westfield.

Reserve Section (East): Westfield v Lancing.

Macron East Sussex League, Premier Division: Ore Athletic v Battle Baptists; Rock-a-Nore v St Leonards Social.

Division 1: Sovereign Saints v Eastbourne Rangers; The JC Tackleway v Sidley Utd; Ticehurst v AFC Hastings.

Division 2: Hastings Rangers v Bexhill AAC.

Division 3: Hooe Sports v West Hill Utd; Sedlescombe Rangers II v Herstmonceux II; Westfield III v Bexhill Utd II.

Division 4: Wittersham II v Hailsham Athletico.

Division 5: Magham Down v Parkfield.

Hastings & District FA Intermediate Cup, 1st round (2.30): Little Common U21 v Mountfield Utd; Peche Hill Select v Sedlescombe Rangers.

Hastings & District FA Junior Cup, 1st round (2.30): Battle Baptists II v St Leonards Social II; Crowhurst v Peche Hill Select II; Little Common III v Burwash; Old Hastonians v Mayfield; Peasmarsh Utd v Orington; Pebsham Sibex v Catsfield; Wadhurst Utd v Icklesham Casuals.

Hastings & District FA Lower Divisions Cup, 1st round (2.30): Bexhill AAC II v Conquest Utd; Hawkhurst Utd II v The JC Tackleway II; Robertsbridge Utd II v FC Westridge; Sandhurst v Bexhill Rovers; Sedlescombe Rangers III v Battle Baptists III; St Leonards v Icklesham Casuals II.

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