Hastings on a high ahead of FA Cup clash

Antonio Walker (right) celebrates with Daniel Ajakaiye during Hastings United's 9-2 win over East Grinstead Town on Tuesday night. Picture courtesy Scott White
Antonio Walker (right) celebrates with Daniel Ajakaiye during Hastings United's 9-2 win over East Grinstead Town on Tuesday night. Picture courtesy Scott White

Hastings United Football Club heads into a big Emirates FA Cup game on a real high after scoring a remarkable nine goals in midweek.

Chris Agutter’s side will travel to higher grade Leiston in second round qualifying for the world famous competition today (Saturday) buoyed by a 9-2 victory away to East Grinstead Town in round one of the Bostik League Velocity Trophy on Tuesday night.

Agutter said: “It’s an opportunity to test ourselves against a good side. Leiston have been there or thereabouts in the league above for the last few years and they play a decent style of football so I think it will be a really good game.”

See also: * Hastings come from 2-0 down to win 9-2
* Hastings knocked off top after first loss
* Hastings claim higher level scalp in FA Cup

Leiston are third in the Evo-Stik Southern Premier Central with 14 points from seven games. Hastings are second in the Bostik League South East Division - the equivalent of one level lower down the pyramid - with 12 points from five matches and beat Bostik League Premier Division side Kingstonian in the previous round.

“We’ve watched them (Leiston) twice and got hold of some footage as well,” continued Agutter. “Kingstonian play at the same level and if we can put our best spells together we had against them, we will cause problems. The first half display against Kingstonian warranted the win.”

The nine-goal blast on Tuesday took Hastings’ goal tally for the season, in all competitions, to a remarkable 29 from just eight matches.

“I think we’re a good team to watch, which is important to me,” Agutter went on. “I’ve already spoken about the importance of being entertaining. I want to sit there and enjoy watching it, and I want the players to enjoy their football.”

Agutter admits he faces a few selection dilemmas, with the likes of Emmanuel Mensah, Jamie Fielding, Sam Cruttwell, Sam Adams and Antonio Walker having all impressed him in the two games over the past week.

Hastings have released back-up goalkeeper Louis Rogers, who has been playing for AFC Uckfield Town, and midfielder Ansu Janneh. James Pool is set to go on loan to Little Common.