Hastings United Football Club showed further positive signs ahead of the new season during its latest two friendlies.
The U's followed a 3-1 defeat at home to higher grade Welling United on Saturday with a 6-2 victory at Eastbourne Town last night (Tuesday).
After an encouraging first half against Welling - who play two levels above United in National League South - ended goalless, Frannie Collin put United ahead with a slightly fortunate goal following a long throw.
United were good value for their advantage until conceding three times in the last 10 minutes (the last goal was a penalty) following the substitution of goalkeeper Lenny Pidgeley.
"I was really pleased with how we played against Welling," said United manager Darren Hare. "It was a very, very good performance against a good side. I thought we were the better side and deserved our goal. We worked hard and played well."
Three days later, a Harry Stannard hat-trick - featuring a wonder goal on the volley - two goals from Jack Harris and one from Sam Cole clinched victory over last season's Macron Store Southern Combination Football League runners-up Eastbourne.
United twice led in the first half only for Town to equalise on both occasions and it stayed 2-2 until the 65th minute, but United ran away with it following the substitutions.
"We didn't feel the first half performance was up to the level I was expecting," said Hare. "Second half we were much, much better and scored some very good goals. I was really pleased. Jack Harris was outstanding and the real plus was Harry Stannard."
United have now played five of their seven pre-season friendlies and next up is a visit from neighbours Westfield next Tuesday night, kick-off 7.45pm.
Hare says all first team players will get some minutes in that game and a few youngsters will also feature. Admission is £4 for adults and £2 for concessions, with under-18s going free.
United's final friendly is at home to Havant & Waterlooville on Saturday August 6 and they will begin their Ryman League Division One South campaign with a visit from South Park seven days later.
A few players are carrying knocks at present, but Hare expects them to be fit for the league opener.
Collin came off in the early stages of last night's game with a tight hamstring which Hare believes may be connected to the sore neck he was experiencing before kick-off. The forward is due to see a physio on Friday.
Simon Johnson is again nursing a sore Achilles, but should be fit by the start of the season, while Bright Temba is thought to be around 10 days from returning to action.
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