Hastings United Football Club’s 1-1 draw at home to Guernsey on Saturday was two points dropped, according to manager Chris Agutter.
That’s despite the fact that Hastings played the last half-hour of the Bostik League South East Division match with nine men after having two players sent-off.
Agutter said: “It’s two points dropped no matter how you dress it up. We started really well, got an early goal and then the Herne Bay mentality crept in (Agutter criticised the players’ mindset in the previous weekend’s 4-1 loss) in terms of we thought we were going to have a stroll up and we thought it was going to be comfortable.
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“All the positive things we did in the first 10 or 15 minutes, which got us into a winning position, we stopped doing and got complacent.
“It wasn’t so much complacent in terms of defensively making mistakes because Charlie (Horlock, goalkeeper) has only had one or two saves to make all game. It was more complacent in and around the (opposition’s) 18-yard box.
“We created so many good chances and got into some great positions, but the decision-making wasn’t right or the final ball was poor. We just weren’t ruthless enough unfortunately.”
Hastings remained on the front foot despite their numerical disadvantage and most of the play during the final third of the match took place in Guernsey territory.
“Their manager, Tony (Vance), said he was happy to take a point,” continued Agutter. “I think we created more chances when we went down to nine funnily enough; we had some really good chances.
“The players work hard, they train hard, we’re in good condition so we always feel where we need to counter-attack and maybe sacrifice a little bit of possession where we’re defending for longer spells, we still carry a good threat.
“We carried a goal threat even at nine men, but before it got to nine men the game should be done and dusted, and we should be consolidating second place, but unfortunately we’ve just squandered so many good opportunities.
“I think Daniel Ajakaiye’s attacking play probably wasn’t as good as it could be, but his defensive work and the shift he put in was brilliant.”
Ollie Black was dismissed in the 57th minute after picking up his second yellow card and Jack Dixon was shown a straight red just five minutes later, both for fouls.
Asked if he had any complaints with the decisions, Agutter said: “No. Ollie’s is a second booking - I think the reaction of their players probably hasn’t helped, but they did exactly what we would do so no issues with that.
“The second one is stupid really. I’m not going to criticise Jack because he’s been arguably our best player all season - I think he’s been excellent - but he saw red. Studs up after the ball’s gone, it’s a straight red.
“Just disappointing because obviously the repercussions of that is Jack and Ollie, who have been big, big players for us in the last couple of months, which has got us up in and around the (top of the) form table and back on the right road, won’t be available in a tough month of fixtures.”
Bostik League South East Division top half (played-points): 1 Cray Wanderers 23-58 (+33 goal difference), 2 Ashford United 23-45 (+27), 3 HASTINGS UNITED 23-45 (+22), 4 Horsham 22-41 (+14), 5 Whyteleafe 22-38 (+17), 6 Haywards Heath Town 22-36 (+9), 7 Hythe Town 23-36 (+6), 8 VCD Athletic 22-35 (+2), 9 Ramsgate 23-30 (+2), 10 Phoenix Sports 22-29 (0).