AN ARMY of claret and blue fans made the near 600-mile round trip to North Yorkshire to witness one of the most momentous games in the club’s history.
Among the 350 hardy souls who headed north were the skipper Sean Ray’s mother Jackie and a life-size cardboard cut out of Marilyn Monroe which attracted both the players’ and fans’ attention.
“Some of the fans were saying Marilyn was born in Hastings,” said Dennis Smith, secretary of United’s Supporters Club.
“They were trying to hoodwink a local photographer but I don’t think he was having any of it.”
The electric atmosphere and brilliant winter sunshine helped compensate for a difficult pitch for the players.
Mr Smith, a retired banker, said: “It was a fantastic day out, a great atmosphere and a fair result.
“Now we have a real chance to get to the next round.
“I reckon the lads could give Middlesbrough a real game. I remember the Man United result against Walthamstow Avenue in the 1950s.
“United just managed to win the game and it proves that anything really can happen in the cup.
“Games like ours demonstrate the magic of the cup is still alive and well.
“A good run in the cup every three or four years is crucial for the survival of little clubs like ours.
“It also puts Hastings on the map for the right reasons, not just for a routing by the French in 1066.”
Sean added: “It meant so much to have the family there especially my mum and girlfriend Amy.
“I went looking for Amy in the crowd but couldn’t find her. So I ended up getting mobbed by our fans.
“It was just the most fantastic atmosphere ever and I can’t wait to do it all again.”