Hastings United boss Agutter hails side after maiden victory this season

Hastings United boss Chris Agutter. Picture courtesy of Scott White.
Hastings United boss Chris Agutter. Picture courtesy of Scott White.

Hastings United manager Chris Agutter was impressed as his side kept their opponents ‘at arm’s length’ on Tuesday night to brush Faversham Town aside and claim their first win of the season.

United won 2-0 in their opening game at The Pilot Field this season thanks to a brace from danger man Ben Pope, securing an early three points for Agutter’s side.

A goal in either half left visitors Faversham with little chance of snatching anything, and boss Agutter admitted his side were ‘always in control.’

Pope struck in the 26th minute to set United on their way after a fine sweeping move, and Faversham struggled to respond before half time, with Hastings never being truly tested.

United continued to pile the pressure on in the second half, and in the 81st minute it told as Ben Pope scored his and Hastings’ second to put the game beyond all doubt.

The win means United remain unbeaten after the first two league games this season, and manager Agutter insisted the ‘solid and professional’ performance warranted nothing less than all three points.

He said: “It was a solid performance, that’s how I’d best describe it. Solid and did what we needed to do to win the game. We would have been disappointed to not be a goal up at half time.

“We were always in control of the game and I think at no points in the game did we look vulnerable. I thought we always had them at arm’s length and it was very much going how we wanted it to go.

“We were dictating to them and it was a solid, efficient, professional performance. I was a lot more uncomfortable on Saturday.”

The clean sheet means the United defence hasn’t yet been breached this season, and Agutter is confident that they can continue to improve defensively and reach a point where consecutive clean sheets are ‘not out of the ordinary.’

He continued: “We’ve recruited in those areas over the summer and worked hard during pre-season on the training pitch to try and address the lack of clean sheets that we got last year.

“We need to be in a position where two clean sheets in a row is not out of the ordinary. Scoring goals has never been a problem. It’s always been at the other end where we’ve let too many go into our net. I think the front three of Lanre (Azeez), Ben Pope and Daniel Ajakaiye were brilliant on Tuesday. We’ve got more than enough firepower.”

The comfortable victory for Hastings came off the back of a hard-earned point on Saturday away at newly-promoted Cray Valley.

The south London based side, who won the FA Vase last campaign, included a host of new signings since their jump to the higher level and were a formidable outfit.

Hastings were without captain Sam Adams who was unavailable but still fielded a useful looking lineup and started the game well.

Overall there was little between the sides, although Cray finished the stronger and came close to taking all three points.

The game ended 0-0 to get United off the mark in the BetVictor South East Division as they look ahead to their FA Cup preliminary round clash this weekend.