Stop-start winter frustrates United boss

Players gather around the referee during Hastings United's 1-0 defeat at home to Three Bridges last weekend. Picture courtesy Joe Knight
Players gather around the referee during Hastings United's 1-0 defeat at home to Three Bridges last weekend. Picture courtesy Joe Knight

Hastings United manager Garry Wilson expressed his frustration at the stop-start nature of the football club’s winter.

Tuesday night’s scheduled trip to Molesey became the sixth Ryman Football League Division One South postponement United have endured since Christmas, all of them away from home.

As a result, United are still to reach the 30-game mark in the league, and they still have between two and five matches in hand on every other club in the division.

Wilson said: “It seems every time we’re playing away the pitch is poor and the game gets called-off. It’s frustrating. You just want to get playing, get your games played and build up some momentum, but it takes all your momentum away.”

Tuesday’s call-off - the second time the Molesey fixture has succumbed to a waterlogged pitch - came three days after a hugely disappointing 1-0 defeat at home to Three Bridges.

“It was frustrating, especially after a bad result and a bad performance,” continued Wilson. “You want to get that result out of the system.

“We were playing against a team that showed a bit of grit and commitment, and never really offered a lot to the game, but stifled the game, and we found it hard to get the tempo up to what it should’ve been and be creative enough to win the game. If we want to be serious contenders for the play-offs, we’ve got to do better than that.”

United made it five wins out of six with a splendid 2-0 victory at home to a then bang in-form Guernsey side three weeks ago, but have picked up just one point from their two subsequent outings, both of which have been at home.

“In this league you just need to show a bit of consistency and I think we’ve struggled to gain that the whole season,” Wilson went on. “It’s what you need to be up there and that’s what we need to strive for.

“I think if we play the way that we can play, we’ll win most of our games. But we need to perform the way we can and not have six or seven players below their level.

“It’s the mind a lot of the time. Guernsey were unbeaten in nine and you know you have to be at your best to beat them. When you’re playing a team lower down the division maybe you think the game’s going to be easier than it is and it’s hard to switch on after 15-20 minutes of the game.”

Five of United’s next six scheduled fixtures are away, starting at fourth-from-bottom Walton & Hersham today (Saturday, kick-off 3pm) and in-form play-off hopefuls Hythe Town on Tuesday night.

“Sometimes when you go away it’s natural for the opposition to attack you and I think sometimes that can suit us because we can play off that,” added Wilson.

The United manager has been seeking to strengthen his squad for the final 17 games of the campaign, but his efforts have so far gone unrewarded.

“We’ve consistently been making enquiries,” Wilson said. “It’s really difficult to get anybody in that’s better than we’ve got. The transfer market’s a little bit static at the moment.

“Zac Attwood played up top in training on Tuesday night and looked sharp so maybe it’s time for Zac to play in his true position. If Zac can come alive for this last part (of the season) that will be a massive bonus for us.”

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