Dropped goalkeeper set to return for Hastings United play-off showdown

Charlie Horlock is set to return in goal for Hastings United's play-off semi-final as Louis Rogers will be suspended. Picture courtesy Scott White
Charlie Horlock is set to return in goal for Hastings United's play-off semi-final as Louis Rogers will be suspended. Picture courtesy Scott White

Charlie Horlock is set to be thrust back into Hastings United Football Club’s side for next Monday night’s play-off semi-final.

The goalkeeper is in line to start the Bostik League South East Division play-off clash, against Ashford United or Haywards Heath Town, as Louis Rogers will be suspended after being sent-off against Ashford on Easter Monday.

Horlock won Hastings’ supporters’ player of the season award last year and started every league match this term until the end of February, when Hastings manager Chris Agutter opted to replace him with Rogers.

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Agutter said: “I’m not worried about that at all. Charlie’s played 90 percent of the season, and has been a big, big contributor all year, and is a big reason we are where we are, fighting for something at the end of April. I think that’s the least of our worries to be honest.

“Charlie coming in isn’t a concern at all. Charlie’s a top ‘keeper and we’re very lucky to have two excellent ‘keepers at the club.”

Rogers, who has started Hastings’ last eight matches, was shown a straight red card in the 89th minute against Ashford for a foul just outside his penalty box after defender Gary Elphick under-hit a back pass.

“I feel sorry for Lou,” continued Agutter. “I don’t condone people fouling players, but he took one for the team there.

“He knew he was going to get sent-off and rather than let the lad roll it into an empty net, he’s bundled him over. He’s taken one for the team. That’s a reflection of the lad; he’s top drawer.”

Bostik League South East Division top half (played-points): 1 Cray Wanderers 35-79 (+42 goal difference), 2 Horsham 36-74 (+35), 3 HASTINGS UNITED 35-67 (+31), 4 Ashford United 35-65 (+33), 5 Haywards Heath Town 35-63 (+18), 6 VCD Athletic 35-59 (+6), 7 Hythe Town 35-52 (+9), 8 Whyteleafe 35-49 (+9), 9 Sevenoaks Town 35-47 (-3), 10 Phoenix Sports 35-46 (-3).