'˜We've set the standard, now let's do it consistently'
Hastings United Football Club's stirring midweek victory has set a benchmark which the players must reach consistently, according to manager Chris Agutter.
Despite having little possession, Hastings defended stoutly and scored two good goals to win 2-0 at home to previously unbeaten Carshalton Athletic in Bostik League Division One South.
Agutter said: “That’s got to be a reference point for us. If we want to fulfil any ambitions the club has set, we’ve got to do that game after game. I don’t think there will be a game this season where the opposition has so much of the ball and we have to work so hard to get a result.”
The hard-earned and very satisfying victory ended a run of one point from six league games. Some may hope it’s a turning point in the season, but all Agutter is concerned about is the next match - an FA Trophy preliminary round tie away to Romford at Thurrock FC on Sunday.
“We just need to move on to the next game,” he continued. “If we go to Romford and don’t get the right result and don’t play in the same manner we have against Carshalton, Walton Casuals and Molesey, the win against Carshalton is nothing. Carshalton is done now; what we must do is refer back to it.”
Hastings are 17th in their division with 11 points from 10 matches, while Romford are second-bottom of Division One North with five points from the same number of fixtures and a -15 goal difference.
“One thing we can’t do is look at their league position and think we need to do anything less than we did to get the win on Tuesday night,” Agutter said. “We need to keep to our standards and expectations in each and every game. If we do that, we will be able to put together a sequence of wins.”
On the injury front, Tom Vickers came off at half time against Carshalton Athletic as a precaution with a sore ankle but should be fine for Sunday’s match, which incidentally will kick-off at 1.30pm.
Simon Johnson is expected to return to training ahead of schedule next week, while long-term absentee Sam Cole is training in the gym 4-5 times per week and is aiming to be back around the end of November.
Agutter is keen to add some pace to the side and says he is currently speaking to two attacking players from higher level clubs, one from the Bostik Premier and one from National League South.
The new manager is also hoping to appoint an assistant boss by the end of the weekend. He is in advanced talks with someone who boasts a wealth of Bostik/Ryman League experience and has worked at professional clubs.
In the meantime, midfielder Lee Carey, who Agutter says has been a massive help to him off the field, is acting assistant manager. Andrew Brown, who also assists with the development squad, is continuing as a first team coach.
Assuming the FA Trophy tie doesn’t go to a replay, the club will hold a fans’ forum at the Hastings United Sports & Social Club on Tuesday from 7.15pm.
The panel will include Agutter and director of football Dean White, and the forum will be chaired by club chairman and director Dave Ormerod.