Pitch inspection for Hastings game

Hastings United captain Simon Johnson closes down a Ramsgate opponent on Tuesday. Picture courtesy Scott White
Hastings United captain Simon Johnson closes down a Ramsgate opponent on Tuesday. Picture courtesy Scott White
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Hastings United Football Club’s scheduled game tomorrow (Saturday) is subject to a morning pitch inspection.

The Pilot Field playing surface will be checked at 10.30am to see if the Ryman Football League Division One South clash at home to Carshalton Athletic, due to kick-off at 3pm, can go ahead.

Prospects of play appear very doubtful. The pitch was still frozen this afternoon and temperatures are only forecast to be around 2-3degC tomorrow.

United manager Darren Hare said this week he believes the next three games will have a major bearing on how the football club’s season pans out.

United will host fifth-placed Carshalton Athletic before contesting back-to-back matches against Hythe Town on Tuesday (away) and next Saturday (home).

Hare’s side is currently 10th in Ryman Football League Division One South - 10 points outside the play-off places but with games in hand on all of the teams above.

He said: “The next three games dictate whether we get in the play-offs or not. We’ll know by the end of January where we’re going to be.

“We know there’s a huge amount on those next three games. If we win them, we propel ourselves back up and it’s game on. If we don’t, it’s going to be a tough ask.

“If they (the players) can’t get themselves up for Carshalton and the two Hythe matches, we will have failed. This season will have been a failure.”

Hare says his players have ‘got to respond’ to the disappointment of Tuesday night’s 2-1 loss at home to Ramsgate when they face a Carshalton side which has scored nine goals in its most recent two outings.

“Carshalton are a very decent team,” he continued. “It’s going to be a very, very tough game. There’s nowhere to hide for our boys and we’ll find out how many characters are in the side.”

Hare expects to welcome back Kiernan Hughes-Mason and Jerrome Sobers, both of whom missed the Ramsgate match after getting caught up in major traffic delays on the A13.

Harry Stannard will be in a position to start after coming on as a substitute in midweek, and Hare says he will have options both defensively and going forward.

Those options include Jack Evans and Bradley Stevenson, both of whom made their debuts against Ramsgate after joining on loan at the end of last week.

Stevenson is said to be close to the first team at Gillingham, while Evans has played 15 times for Maidstone United in the National League this season.

“Jack is a good player, a good footballer, but he’s short of match practice,” Hare went on. “The loan players come to us not having played many games and sometimes it takes them two or three games to get going.

“Jack will do alright for us. Bradley looked like a fish out of water (against Ramsgate); I’ve seen so much more from him.”

With several new faces having arrived on a temporary basis of late, largely to offset injuries and suspensions, Hare admits there’s a lack of continuity and familiarity about his side at present.

“My only defence is that through the season we’ve had to make so many changes,” he added. “We’ve never had a settled side and we looked like a team that’s never played together (against Ramsgate).

“We’ve lost that spark and creative oomph about us. It pains me to say this, but at the moment I’ll be happy if we just grind out a couple of results.”

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Ollie Rowe wins a header in the 2-1 loss to Ramsgate. Picture courtesy Scott White

Ollie Rowe wins a header in the 2-1 loss to Ramsgate. Picture courtesy Scott White