Mixed emotions for United boss

Hastings United player-manager Sean Ray. Picture by Terry S. Blackman
Hastings United player-manager Sean Ray. Picture by Terry S. Blackman

Hastings United player-manager Sean Ray was left with mixed emotions after last night’s victory over Peacehaven & Telscombe.

A 119th minute goal from Danny Ellis gave United a 2-1 success after extra-time away to a side which plays its football two levels below them and set up a Sussex Senior Cup quarter-final at home to Crawley Town.

Ray was pleased that United got a win to their name after a tough recent run in the Ryman Football League Premier Division, but annoyed at his sending-off near the end of extra-time.

“We under-estimated them at the start of the game, but to be fair they’re a decent side,” Ray admitted. “We weren’t quite at it for 45 minutes, but we changed our shape and we were a little bit better in the second half.”

“I thought we were the stronger side in extra-time, especially with 10 men (after Matt Whitehead hobbled off when all three permitted substitutes had been made), and it was nice to get another win under our belts.

“When you’re struggling to win games, it’s games like last night that can kick-start things for you. Conditions were poor and it was a bumpy pitch, but we found a way to scrape a win.”

Ray was shown United’s fourth red card of the season after the Ellis goal following an off-the-ball incident. The central defender is likely to be banned for at least four games in the early part of next month.

“The linesman saw something off the ball from 60-70 yards away through a crowd of players that the referee never saw from 10 yards away,” Ray said. “He’s got some vision, the linesman.

“It was handbags and it happens week in, week out in penalty boxes. We’re going to look at the video evidence and go from there. If they’re going to send people off for that, Juventus would’ve been down to nine men on Tuesday.

“I’m getting fed up of talking about referees. I thought the one on Saturday (in the 1-1 league draw at home to Thurrock) was poor.”

Also on the disciplinary front, Tom Vickers and Jamie Crellin are likely to be banned for two matches each after picking up their 10th bookings of the season last night.