United set for ‘massive’ weekend

Jack Dixon on the ball during Hastings United's 2-0 win away to Sheppey United in the FA Cup last weekend. Picture courtesy Scott White
Jack Dixon on the ball during Hastings United's 2-0 win away to Sheppey United in the FA Cup last weekend. Picture courtesy Scott White

Hastings United Football Club will seek to continue its unbeaten start to the season during what manager Adam Hinshelwood has described as a ‘massive’ Bank Holiday weekend.

United are gearing up for two Bostik Football League Division One South matches in the space of three days - away to Ramsgate today (Saturday) and at home to Lewes on Monday. Both fixtures will kick-off at 3pm.

Hinshelwood said: “We’ve started well in the first three games, but these two games are massive now. In the space of three days we’ve got a team that’s being tipped to do well in Lewes, and Ramsgate have started well as well and it’s always a tough place to go.”

Hastings have picked up four points from their opening two league matches, winning 2-1 at home to last season’s play-off finalists Corinthian-Casuals and drawing 1-1 away to Carshalton Athletic. They also won 2-0 away to Sheppey United in the FA Cup preliminary round last weekend.

Ramsgate have won one and lost one of their first two league outings, while Lewes have won both of theirs, although the Rooks did need a replay to see off lower grade Newhaven in the FA Cup this weekend after drawing the initial tie at home.

“Monday’s one to look forward to, but we can’t look any further ahead than Saturday,” continued Hinshelwood, who said he would take four points from the two contests.

The Sheppey goalkeeper is beaten for the first Hastings goal. Picture courtesy Scott White

The Sheppey goalkeeper is beaten for the first Hastings goal. Picture courtesy Scott White

“That’s going to be a really tough game down there, and we’re going to have to really be at it and work hard to get anything at Ramsgate.

“All our focus will go into Saturday and we’ll try to be resolute. We’ve proven a tough team to play against, now it’s down to us to go and stamp our authority.

“The performances have still not been anywhere near where we want to be. We will be working to get better on that side of it over the next two games.”

Hinshelwood said that central defender Ollie Rowe now isn’t far from fitness and Sam Beale will probably remain sidelined by his groin strain. A few knocks from last weekend’s game were due to be assessed last night.

“We’ve got a relatively healthy nucleus of a squad and we would look to potentially give everyone an opportunity over the two games if needed,” added Hinshelwood. “After Saturday we’ll see where we are fitness-wise.”

Hinshelwood, meanwhile, was pleased to see his team come through a ‘tricky’ FA Cup test away to Southern Counties East League Premier Division side Sheppey.

He said: “It was a tricky tie, and it took a couple of ‘worldy’ goals (by Simon Johnson and Billy Medlock) and a bit of good goalkeeping (from Josh Pelling) to get the result. Games like that you want to come away with a win and it was pleasing to do that.

“It was similar to what I’ve seen from the first three games. We had lots of the ball first half, but we didn’t up the tempo in the final third and we didn’t create enough. Neither ‘keeper got worked and if anything it looked like they might sneak one down the other end on the counter-attack.

“We changed the shape a little bit and it was a little bit better in the second half. There were a couple of scary moments at 0-0 and Josh Pelling made a great save from a one-versus-one situation. To score the goals so quickly (after each other) just helped settle everybody down and it was pleasing to come through it.”