Hastings in high spirits for festive derby

Davide Rodari on the ball for Hastings United during August's reverse fixture against Lewes. Picture courtesy Scott White
Davide Rodari on the ball for Hastings United during August's reverse fixture against Lewes. Picture courtesy Scott White
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Hastings United Football Club will go into today’s (Boxing Day’s) festive derby on a high.

Chris Agutter’s side will make the short journey to Bostik League Division One South leaders Lewes buoyed by a run of 10 league matches without defeat.

That run has lifted Hastings up to 11th in the table and no team in the division has picked up more points from their last six games.

Hastings will also be on a high from their 4-2 victory at home to Ramsgate on Saturday when they hit back superbly after conceding twice in the first seven minutes.

Lewes put a stop to back-to-back defeats with a 1-0 weekend win at Sittingbourne thanks to a late goal from Billy Medlock, who played for Hastings when Lewes won 2-1 in August’s reverse fixture.

Agutter watched Lewes lose 2-0 at Ramsgate on December 16 and said last week: “Lewes are sitting top of the pile, but when we played them at home (in August), even with 10 men we could’ve got back into that game. We’re twice the team now that we were then.

“Local derbies are very intense and it will be very passionate. I’m looking forward to a decent crowd and a great atmosphere. If we take the emotion out of the game and play our way, I think Lewes will be in for a shock.”

Agutter said last week he will rotate his squad as the matches come thick and fast across the Christmas and new year period, and that he would be surprised if he fields the same starting XI against Ramsgate and Lewes.

Kick-off at The Dripping Pan is 3pm.

Bostik League Division One South top half (played-points): 1 Lewes 24-51, 2 Cray Wanderers 23-48, 3 Corinthian-Casuals 25-48, 4 Carshalton Athletic 25-48, 5 Walton Casuals 25-46, 6 Greenwich Borough 25-45, 7 Phoenix Sports 25-40, 8 Hythe Town 25-40, 9 South Park 22-36, 10 Sittingbourne 24-36, 11 HASTINGS UNITED 24-35, 12 Thamesmead Town 24-34.