Hastings United Football Club’s hopes of reaching the season-ending promotion play-offs have received a dramatic boost.
United’s fate is now back in their own hands heading into the final weekend of the Ryman Football League Division One South season after rivals Corinthian-Casuals were handed a three-point deduction today (Friday).
As reported by www.isthmian.co.uk, the Football Association upheld a decision by the league to deduct the points under Rule 6.9 for playing Dave Hodges in a 3-1 home win over Faversham Town on January 16 while he was still under suspension.
Hodges was ruled to have been ineligible to play in the fixture at a Ryman League disciplinary hearing on March 31 despite the club’s belief that they had cleared his suspension by not playing him in a county cup fixture. The FA’s decision is final and binding.
It means that instead of being one point and one place outside the play-off spots, United now occupy the final position in the all-important top five.
Corinthian have dropped from fifth to seventh as a result of the deduction and are now two points behind United. Faversham Town have moved up to sixth - one point adrift of United - and the U’s have a significantly better goal difference than both their rivals.
A victory at home to ninth-placed Herne Bay tomorrow will guarantee United a play-off place. A draw will also be enough if Faversham fail to win at home to third-placed Hythe Town and Corinthian win by less than a 15-goal margin at home to 14th-placed Three Bridges.
Other than long-term injury victim Billy Medlock, United should be at full strength against a Herne Bay side which they’ve played three times already this season, winning once, drawing once and losing once.
The formbook favours United as they’ve won three and drawn two of their last five matches, whereas Herne Bay have picked up just four points from their last seven outings, a run which has seen them drift out of play-off contention. Kick-off at The Pilot Field is 3pm.
Revised Ryman Division One South top seven (all played 45 matches): 1 Folkestone Invicta 111pts (+66 goal difference), 2 Dorking Wanderers 90 (+47), 3 Hythe Town 87 (+29), 4 Worthing 85 (+39), 5 HASTINGS UNITED 81 (+36), 6 Faversham Town 80 (+27), 7 Corinthian-Casuals 79 (+22).
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