Ray aims to build on battling display

Hastings United V Billericay Town, 21/1/12

Hastings United V Billericay Town, 21/1/12

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Sean Ray wants to see his Hastings United team build on last weekend’s magnificent performance against the Ryman Premier leaders.

The player-manager got the response he desired after being critical of the relegation-threatened team’s mentality in the build-up to the goalless draw at home to Billericay Town.

Hastings seemed fired up from the start and were much the better team in the first half despite being reduced to 10 men on 25 minutes following a straight red card shown to midfielder Jamie Crellin.

“The boys were outstanding so everything I said about them not being mentally strong enough they proved me wrong. They took what was said on board and reacted in the right way,” said Ray.

“Last Saturday we took the plaudits after the game but we have got to remember it’s only one point and that becomes irrelevant if we can’t build on it,” he added casting an eye towards the tricky tussle away to

sixth-placed Hendon tomorrow (Saturday).

“It’s all about being mentally stronger and playing for 90 minutes. Now we’ve got to build on that and we’ve got to be consistent. Let’s go on to places like Hendon who are also up there and get another result.”

Hastings will have to try and get something from the game without their captain Josh Jirbandey (pictured) who is sitting an exam so Scott Manning will move across from full back to partner Ray in the heart of the defence. Jordan Woodley sits out the second game of his four-match ban, while Crellin will make his last appearance before starting a three-match suspension for last weekend’s sending-off.

Striker Kenny Pogue has dual-registered with Rye United and will play for the Sussex County League title hopefuls for the foreseeable future.

TODAY’S SENIOR FOOTBALL FIXTURES (3PM UNLESS STATED)

Ryman League, Premier Division: Hendon v Hastings Utd.

Sussex County League, Division 1: Ringmer v Rye Utd; Sidley Utd v Selsey.

Division 2: Midhurst & Easebourne v Little Common 2.30; Westfield v Bexhill Utd 2.30.