Improbable win sums up year

Action from Hastings United's 3-2 win at home to Burgess Hill Town yesterday. Picture by Terry S. Blackman
Action from Hastings United's 3-2 win at home to Burgess Hill Town yesterday. Picture by Terry S. Blackman

Hastings United’s remarkable win over Burgess Hill Town yesterday (Saturday) rather summed up a rollercoaster year for the football club.

The U’s recovered from 2-0 down early in the second half to pull off a dramatic 3-2 victory with Danny Ellis scoring a delightful stoppage time winner, making it 29 points from a possible 33 at The Pilot Field.

It was an afternoon of shifting emotions and that was very much the story of 2013 for United. The calendar year began with a New Year’s Day draw at home to Lewes before the memorable trip to Middlesbrough in round three of the FA Cup.

United gave a splendid account of themselves in a gallant 4-1 defeat to Championship big guns Boro at The Riverside Stadium and Bradley Goldberg’s 25-yard wonder goal will be remembered by the 1,068 travelling supporters for many years to come.

Boosted by the profits from the extraordinary FA Cup run, the time seemed right for United to kick on. But Josh Jirbandey’s departure to university in the United States, the long-term injury absence of Goldberg and a crazy late season fixture backlog resulted in United being relegated from the Ryman Premier Division.

Sean Ray stayed on as player-manager until resigning just three days before the start of the new season. Caretaker bosses Mark Stapley and Terry White got United off to a very good start, however, before the vastly experienced John Maggs was appointed manager in late August.

Despite the occasional poor result away from home, the solid progress has continued and United go into 2014 lying third in Division One South with 46 points from 22 games. A fascinating new year lies in prospect and United will hope to conclude this season at the opposite end of the table that they finished last term.