Big crowd expected for play-off tie

The Hastings United squad lines up for the camera with Leonard the Seagull prior to Saturday's win over Crawley Down Gatwick. Picture by Terry S. Blackman
The Hastings United squad lines up for the camera with Leonard the Seagull prior to Saturday's win over Crawley Down Gatwick. Picture by Terry S. Blackman
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A big crowd is expected for Hastings United’s hotly anticipated clash away to Folkestone Invicta tonight (Tuesday).

According to Invicta’s website, the club is anticipating its biggest gate of the season for the Ryman Football League Division One South play-off semi-final.

Invicta manager Neil Cugley told www.folkestoneinvictafc.co.uk that he would be ‘disappointed if we don’t get 600-700’ and indications are that it could well be more.

United sold out a supporters’ coach in just a day and a number of fans will no doubt make their way across the Kent border by car or rail. Invicta also say they have received unprecedentedly high interest from the regional media.

Invicta finished the regular season in the runners-up spot after Leatherhead were handed a six-point deduction for a registration irregularity. United scraped into the final play-off place of fifth after rivals Burgess Hill Town conceded a 90th minute equaliser against Sittingbourne on Saturday.

United will be without midfielder Danny Ellis, who is suspended after being sent-off in the 2-1 defeat away to Folkestone two weeks ago. They will also be hoping that the several players who have been carrying knocks lately are as close as possible to full fitness for such a key game.

Folkestone finished 10 points above United in the league and certainly ended the regular season in better form. Invicta have won five and drawn one of their last six matches, and have lost only three times since early December. United have lost four of their last six outings.

Kick-off at the Fullicks Stadium is 7.45pm. The winners will face whoever comes out on top in the other semi-final between Leatherhead and Guernsey in the final on Saturday for a place in the Premier Division next season.