United have 'good chance' of FA Cup upset

Simon Johnson scores for Hastings United in last weekend's 2-1 defeat away to Dorking Wanderers. Picture courtesy Scott White
Simon Johnson scores for Hastings United in last weekend's 2-1 defeat away to Dorking Wanderers. Picture courtesy Scott White
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Darren Hare believes his Hastings United footballers have ‘a good chance’ of pulling off an FA Cup upset.

The U’s will travel to a Margate side which plays two levels higher up the non-league pyramid in third round qualifying today (Saturday).

Hastings United forward Frannie Collin on the ball against Dorking Wanderers. Picture courtesy Scott White

Hastings United forward Frannie Collin on the ball against Dorking Wanderers. Picture courtesy Scott White

United manager Hare said: “They will be decent, they will be a big threat, but I think we’ve got a good chance. We’ve got to make sure we’re right on the money and hopefully we can cause an upset.

“It’s a nice pitch and there’s no pressure on us. They watched us on Tuesday night (when United lost 3-2 away to Greenwich Borough in the league) and I think they will be concerned because we did play really well. If we can emulate that on Saturday, we will cause them problems. We’re certainly going to go there and pass the ball.”

Margate are 16th in National League South with 13 points from 12 games, while United are 12th in Ryman League Division One South with 12 points from eight matches.

United have come through three rounds to reach this stage, all of them away from home, without conceding a goal. Those victories have earned them £9,425 from the FA’s prize fund and another win tomorrow would secure a further £7,500.

Alex Akrofi on the ball against Dorking. Picture courtesy Scott White

Alex Akrofi on the ball against Dorking. Picture courtesy Scott White

Hare says that Steve Watt will come back in at centre-half after injury so Richard Davies is likely to shuffle across to right-back, with Myles Judd having returned to Leyton Orient after two games with the U’s.

United are hoping to keep fellow Orient youngster Victor Adeboyejo for a while longer, although he won’t be eligible tomorrow.

Sam Cruttwell is still on holiday and Barry Cogan is cup-tied, but Alex Akrofi - the striker signed from Maidstone United last Friday - should be available having been an unused substitute for Concord Rangers in the previous round.

Stephen Butcher is expected to return from injury in the league game at Molesey next Tuesday night, assuming the FA Cup clash doesn’t go to a replay. Sam Cole is around two weeks from fitness.

Sam Cruttwell closes down a Dorking opponent. Picture courtesy Scott White

Sam Cruttwell closes down a Dorking opponent. Picture courtesy Scott White

The U’s go into the tie off the back of successive narrow league losses away to top four opposition, but Hare isn’t disheartened with the way they’re playing.

“I can’t fault the players, they’re putting a shift in,” he continued. “The effort’s there, the willingness is there; what I think we’re missing at the moment is that little bit of Eye of the Tiger in both penalty areas.

“We’re very easy on the eye, and I’m really happy with how we build up play and pass the ball, but what wins games is what happens in both penalty areas.

“I think we certainly deserved to get something out of Tuesday night’s game. I thought we played ever so well and that’s the fourth time now the other team’s manager has said to me ‘you’re the best team we’ve played’, but I don’t want to hear that; I want to win some games.”

United are eight points outside the play-off places, though they do have games in hand on most other clubs.

“I would say at the moment we’re okay,” added Hare. “I don’t think we’ll be far away. Teams will drop points; we just need to go on a run. It’s too early in the season to start getting too concerned. I do think we’ll start converting some of the performances into wins.”

TODAY'S FOOTBALL FIXTURES

FA CUP

3rd round qualifying (3pm)

Margate v Hastings United

PARAFIX SUSSEX SENIOR CHALLENGE CUP

1st round (3pm)

Little Common v Selsey

MACRON STORE SOUTHERN COMBINATION FOOTBALL LEAGUE

Division 1 (3pm)

Bexhill United v Billingshurst

RYMAN FOOTBALL LEAGUE

U21 South Division (3pm)

Carshalton Athletic v Hastings United Development Squad

MACRON EAST SUSSEX FOOTBALL LEAGUE (3pm)

Premier Division

Eastbourne Rangers v Old Hastonians

Robertsbridge United v Ore Athletic

Rock-a-Nore v Hollington United

Sedlescombe Rangers v Hawkhurst United

Sidley United v Westfield II

St Leonards Social v Battle Baptists

Division 1

Crowhurst v The JC Tackleway

Herstmonceux v Icklesham Casuals

Mountfield United v Northiam 75

Rye Town v Wadhurst United

Division 2

Bexhill AAC v St Leonards Social II

Hastings Athletic v Burwash

Mayfield v Eastbourne Athletic

Peche Hill Select v Hastings Rangers

Westfield III v Ticehurst

Division 3

Battle Baptists II v Orington

Bexhill Rovers v Bexhill United II

Catsfield v Hailsham Athletico

Punnetts Town v Sedlescombe Rangers II

Division 4

Magham Down v Mayfield II

Parkfield v Sandhurst

The JC Tackleway v Victoria Baptists

West Hill United v Bexhill AAC II

Division 5

Bexhill Spartans v Robertsbridge United II

Cranbrook Town v Battle Baptists III

Hampden Park v Wittersham II

Icklesham Casuals II v West Hill United II

Northiam 75 II v Sedlescombe Rangers III

SUSSEX BLUEFIN JUNIOR CUP

1st round (2.30pm)

Southwater II v Bexhill Town

Sovereign Saints v Hove United

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