Hastings United’s footballers have an opportunity to build some real momentum over the coming weeks.
The U’s have won their two matches over the past week away to Tooting & Mitcham United and Worthing - the first time they’ve recorded back-to-back Ryman Football League Division One South victories since the opening week of the season.
The boys are playing with a bit of confidence again and it’s good to see.Garry Wilson
Those results have nudged United up to 15th, although they have games in hand on all of the teams above them in a closely-bunched table.
What’s more, their next five scheduled league fixtures are all at home and four of them are against teams below them so it’s a chance to really get a run going.
Next up is a visit from Walton & Hersham today (Saturday) before Sittingbourne provide the opposition on Tuesday night.
United manager Garry Wilson said: “It’s nice to get the league action back on track. On the face of it our league position’s been looking dismal, but if we continue to win the games in hand, we’ll continue to climb the table.
“The boys are playing with a bit of confidence again and it’s good to see. Everybody’s playing their part and hopefully we can keep that ticking over.”
United have lost their last three home matches in the league, but Wilson says their record at The Pilot Field will improve.
By contrast, the U’s have won five of their seven away league fixtures this term and Wilson was well pleased to take six points from the trips to Tooting and Worthing.
“We probably would’ve been happy with four points before the week,” said Wilson, who acknowledged the vital saves of goalkeeper Josh Pelling over the two games. “I thought we did okay at Tooting, we ground that one out.
“The first half performance against Worthing was very good. The preparation wasn’t great because we got stuck in traffic so I was pleased with how the team started. I thought we thoroughly deserved to win the game.”
The likes of Tyrell Richardson-Brown, Bright Temba and Chris Cumming-Bart have featured more prominently over the past week, and Wilson said last week’s Alan Turvey Trophy win over Tonbridge Angels with a reshuffled line-up gave him food for thought.
“It’s great for them and great for us,” he added. “Once we’ve got the confidence these boys can produce, we’ll give them the commitment to play them. It’s a squad, and it’s about finding a formula and the right mix of players to get a result.”
Simon Johnson is set to return, while Tom Vickers is battling to shake off a sore neck which kept him out of the Worthing game. Wilson is a bit concerned that Zac Attwood’s Achilles problem is not showing a significant improvement.
TODAY’S FOOTBALL FIXTURES
(Kick-off 3pm unless stated)
Ryman League, Division 1 South: Hastings Utd v Walton & Hersham.
Ryman U21 League, South Division: Three Bridges v Hastings Utd Development Squad.
Macron Store Southern Combination League,
Division 1: Little Common v Lingfield; Midhurst & Easebourne v Bexhill Utd.
Division 2: Westfield v AFC Roffey Club.
Reserve Section (East): Steyning Town v Westfield.
Macron East Sussex League, Premier Division: Sedlescombe Rangers v Ore Athletic.
Division 2: Hastings Rangers v Eastbourne Athletic; Icklesham Casuals v Little Common III.
Division 3: Herstmonceux II v Burwash.
Division 4: Hailsham Athletico v The JC Tackleway II; Wittersham II v Conquest Utd.
Division 5: Battle Baptists III v Icklesham Casuals II.
Birchwood Group Challenge Cup, 2nd round (2.30): Battle Baptists v Eastbourne Rangers; Crowhurst v Hollington Utd; Hawkhurst Utd v Old Hastonians; Robertsbridge Utd v Mountfield Utd; Sovereign Saints v AFC Hastings; The JC Tackleway v Rock-a-Nore; Ticehurst v Peche Hill Select; Wadhurst Utd v St Leonards Social.
Wisdens Sports Challenge Cup, 2nd round (2.30): Bexhill AAC v Sedlescombe Rangers II; Bexhill Utd II v Hooe Sports; Catsfield v Westfield III; Orington v Pebsham Sibex; Peasmarsh Utd v Northiam 75; Peche Hill Select II v Mayfield; St Leonards Social II v Herstmonceux.
Eastbourne Coach Finishers Challenge Cup, 2nd round (2.30): Bexhill AAC II v FC Westridge; Bexhill Rovers v Hawkhurst Utd II; Hampden Park Utd v Magham Down; Sandhurst v Robertsbridge Utd II; Sedlescombe Rangers III v Battle Baptists II; St Leonards v Grasshoppers Old Boys; Victoria Baptists v Parkfield.
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