Hastings United starting as they mean to go on

Hastings United will begin their new Isthmian League promotion bid at home to Herne Bay four weeks tomorrow – and Chris Agutter is delighted with the progress already made in the build-up.

Friday, 16th July 2021, 8:00 am
Tom Chalmers heads home against Eastbourne United / Picture: Scott White
Tom Chalmers heads home against Eastbourne United / Picture: Scott White

The Us have won all their of their friendlies so far, including an eye-catching 2-1 win away to higher-level Walton Casuals, and Agutter is pleased with the performance levels the players are displaying.

Hastings won 4-0 at AFC Uckfield last week and 2-0 at Eastbourne United on Tuesday night, either side of the victory at Walton.

“Both Uckfield and Eastbourne were quite defensive and dropped off – parked it a bit – and made us work to break them down, which was a useful test,” Agutter said.

Sam Adams jumps to it at Walton Casuals / Picture: Scott White

“But at Walton, as you’d expect, they came after us. It was an open game and we were really impressive, even though we’re still not asking too much of any one player.

“No-one has played a full 90 minutes in one game yet, as last year we were a bit heavy on the pedal early on.” The goals have been shared around so far with Ben Pope, Craig Stone, Gary Elphick, Tom Chalmers and Freddie Legg all on target.

And Agutter revealed that a number of academy players had impressed him as they were given minutes in friendlies to show if they might push for first-team calls.

Left-back Harry Simmons, midfielder Jamal Lubanga and forward Freddie Warren are among starlets to catch the eye. “They’re all local boys who have come through the academy and it’s good to see the progress they’re making,” Agutter added.

Hastings have three more away friendlies before welcoming Spurs to The Pilot Field on July 27 for Sam Adams’ testimonial.

They go to Alresford tomorrow, Eastbourne Town on Tuesday and Walthamstow next Saturday.

Meanwhile the full Isthmian south east division fixture list is out and United face an early home clash with Whitehawk on bank holiday Monday, August 30 – one of the teams Agutter says should be strong this year.

Hastings will host Lancing on New Year’s Day and finish the season at home to Sevenoaks. See more fixtures at hastingsobserver.co.uk