Hastings ‘desperate to put it right’

Hastings United captain Simon Johnson lays the ball off against Godalming Town. Picture courtesy Scott White
Hastings United captain Simon Johnson lays the ball off against Godalming Town. Picture courtesy Scott White

Darren Hare says his Hastings United footballers are ‘desperate to put it right’ after losing an important game against bottom-of-the-table opposition.

United were beaten 1-0 away to already relegated Godalming Town last weekend, when a victory would have lifted them into the Ryman League Division One South play-off spots.

“We were all bitterly disappointed, especially myself,” said Hare, United’s manager. “We all had to look at ourselves after the game - the players, myself as a manager.

“We had a great (training) session on Tuesday night and they (the players) are desperate to put it right. I don’t believe we’re out of it (play-off contention) yet and if we win the game in hand we go back in it.”

Hare put the defeat down as ‘one of those days’, rueing missed chances in attack and the concession of a freak goal when the ball bounced over sub goalkeeper Ryan Nicholls.

“I think we had five of the best chances you will ever see in a game, but didn’t convert any of them and we conceded the most bizarre of goals,” he continued.

Ollie Rowe effects a tackle against Godalming. Picture courtesy Scott White

Ollie Rowe effects a tackle against Godalming. Picture courtesy Scott White

“I felt a bit sorry for Ryan. When you’re a number two (goalkeeper) you wait in the wings for a long time and I don’t blame him. He kept us in it towards the end.

“It was one of those days where we had to step up to the plate a little bit more from a physical point of view and we didn’t do it, and in the same breath I don’t think we played enough football.

“I think when you really peel it back, we didn’t play that much differently to how we did at home the week before (when United won 5-1 at home to Molesey).”

The good thing for United was that most of the teams around them also dropped points so their play-off fate remains in their own hands with five matches remaining.

Kiernan Hughes-Mason on the charge during last weekend's 1-0 defeat. Picture courtesy Scott White

Kiernan Hughes-Mason on the charge during last weekend's 1-0 defeat. Picture courtesy Scott White

United are two places and two points outside the final play-off position of fifth, but they have a game in hand - away to South Park on Wednesday night - and a better goal difference than all of the teams around them.

“I think it’s going to go to the wire,” Hare went on. “The teams above us have all got to play each other and people will drop points. We’ve just got to worry about us; it’s in our hands.

“I think we’ve got to win four out of five now and that’s not an easy task. When the pressure’s on people make strange decisions and people sometimes lack belief - and that’s what I saw on Saturday.”

First choice goalkeeper Lenny Pidgeley will miss at least the trip to Cray Wanderers on Sunday with the back injury which forced him off against Godalming and kept him off work on Monday and Tuesday.

Simon Johnson is doubtful with a pulled calf, but Stephen Butcher and Bradley Stevenson should return to the squad following illness and injury respectively.

“I’m going to make a few changes on Sunday,” added Hare. “Not necessarily the personnel, but certainly the shape. We’re going to try and get our mojo back and go a little bit more up-front, pushing on, pressing, trying to make it hard for Cray.”

United are running coaches to the next two games, leaving The Pilot Field at 12noon for Cray and 4.15pm for South Park.

The cost is £20 for adults, £15 for supporters’ club members and £8 for u18s. To reserve a seat, email davidrussell881@hotmail.co.uk or call/text 07970 332270.

See our comprehensive sports coverage in the Observer every Friday.

Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.

Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be amongst the first to know what’s going on.

1 Make this website your homepage

2 Like our Facebook page at facebook.com/pages/Sport-Sussex

3 Follow us on Twitter @SportSussex

4 Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.

And do share with your family and friends - so they don’t miss out!