Hastings United boss: First half was best we’ve played this year

Hastings United protest against the decision to allow Whitstable Town's equaliser to stand. Picture courtesy Scott White
Hastings United protest against the decision to allow Whitstable Town's equaliser to stand. Picture courtesy Scott White

Hastings United manager Chris Agutter described the football club’s first half performance against Whitstable Town on Saturday as ‘the best we’ve played this year’.

But he criticised a ‘diabolical’ refereeing performance in a Bostik League South East Division match which ended in a 1-1 draw after Hastings led at half time.

Agutter said: “First half was the best we’ve played this year, we were outstanding. That was a real positive, we were really in control.

See also: * Hastings United investigate alleged incident between player and fan
* Hastings United draw game which ends 10-a-side
* Hastings United denied by added time Horsham leveller
* Nine-man Hastings United draw with Guernsey

“To go to a place where Ashford have lost and Horsham have dropped points - it’s not the nicest place in the world - and produce the level of performance we did was very pleasing.

“In the second half we were going up the slope and into a heavy wind so it was a bit more difficult to get out.

“Apart from the goal, they’ve not created any other opportunities, and if the referee and linesman do their job properly, it’s a 1-0 away win.”

With the benefit of having watched the game back on video, Agutter criticised three key refereeing decisions.

He felt Hastings ought to have been awarded a first half penalty for a tackle on Daniel Ajakaiye, that Temi Eweka’s second yellow card was a case of mistaken identity as Jahmal Howlett-Mundle was involved in the melee and that Whitstable’s equaliser was ‘three yards offside’.

“I don’t tend to talk about referees too much, but the referee was diabolical,” he continued. “Their goal was three yards offside. The referee decides their centre-forward hasn’t touched the ball even though he’s headed it in.

“I spoke to the linesman (who flagged for offside) after the game and he said the referee over-ruled him. When something like that happens you realise it’s probably not going to be your day.

“There was so much that went against us, but we’re taking the positives out of it. With so many players out injured, we’ve got another point at a place where a lot of teams have dropped points.

Bostik League South East Division top half (played-points): 1 Cray Wanderers 25-64 (+38 goal difference), 2 Ashford United 24-48 (+29), 3 HASTINGS UNITED 25-47 (+22), 4 Horsham 24-45 (+16), 5 Haywards Heath Town 24-42 (+11), 6 Whyteleafe 24-41 (+17), 7 Hythe Town 25-39 (+9), 8 VCD Athletic 23-35 (0), 9 Ramsgate 25-33 (+5), 10 Phoenix Sports 24-32 (-3).