Hastings United progress in FA Cup after seeing off Broadbridge Heath in 'dominant' display

Hastings celebrate one of Ben Pope's goals. Picture by Scott White.
Hastings celebrate one of Ben Pope's goals. Picture by Scott White.

Hastings United boss Chris Agutter admitted his side’s FA Cup victory over SCFL Premier outfit Broadbridge Heath was ‘dominant and comfortable’ as his side cruised past their lower league opponents.

Agutter insisted the score-line didn’t tell the game’s true story as his side registered 88% possession and 15 shots on goal to Heath’s one.

Ben Pope scored a brace to secure United’s place in the hat for the next round, but it took a late winner to finally see off the determined visitors after a shock equaliser midway through the second half followed Pope’s first half opener.

Agutter was honest in his reflection of the game, revealing that it was simply a game to ‘get through without any issues’, always highly confident of a victory.

Discussing the 2-1 win, he said: “It was one of those games you just wanted to get through without any injuries or any issues and make sure we were in the hat for the next round. We ticked all those boxes.

“The score-line doesn’t reflect the game. We just missed chances. We could’ve had two penalties that weren’t given, so it was just missing opportunities. It looked like there were about eight divisions between the teams, not one, so it was very dominant and very comfortable.”

Agutter admitted his players were cruising through the game, with half an eye on bank holiday Monday’s league clash with East Grinstead.

He continued: “It was a good, solid performance. I don’t think anyone was outstanding but I think everyone was in first or second gear just doing enough to get the job done.

“If they had equalised, we would have gone and scored again, it was just one of them really. As soon as they got the equaliser we went back up through the gears and got the winner.

“The game went how I thought it would. If we had scored five or six you couldn’t have argued. It was a game that we just needed to chalk off.”

The FA Cup tie preceded a 0-0 draw away at league rivals East Grinstead on Monday, where Agutter was frustrated not to take all three points.

He said: “If we were 4-0 up at half time you wouldn’t have argued. It was a comfortable game, we never looked stretched either, so it was definitely two points dropped.

“I’m not disappointed though. Questions get asked after the game when you’re still unbeaten and we haven’t conceded a goal yet, so it’s a good reflection of where we’re at with the high expectations we have each other and of the team.”

He continued: “I’d be far more worried if we weren’t creating the opportunities. We’re looking dangerous in the final third and we’re not conceding goals. If we continue to do that we’ll keep winning games.”

Next up for Hastings is a league game at home to Whyteleafe, while fellow Sussex side Worthing wait for Agutter’s side in the next round of the FA Cup.