Ray: We were unlucky to lose

Hastings United player-manager Sean Ray hooks the ball forward against Whitehawk yesterday. Picture by Terry S. Blackman
Hastings United player-manager Sean Ray hooks the ball forward against Whitehawk yesterday. Picture by Terry S. Blackman

Sean Ray felt that Hastings United were unfortunate to lose against table-topping opposition yesterday (Easter Monday).

The U’s conceded a goal in either half to succumb 2-0 at home to Whitehawk in a clash between the teams lying second-from-bottom and top of the Ryman Football League Premier Division.

United player-manager Ray said: “I firmly believe we deserved something out of that. I don’t think we deserved to lose; I think a draw probably would’ve been a fair result. The difference was the two penalty boxes. The teams at the top grind out these wins and that’s what we’ve got to start doing.”

The home side fell behind to a close range header by Danny Mills just after the half-hour mark and their fate was sealed by a 79th minute goal from Sam Gargan moments after Lee Carey’s goalbound shot had been blocked at the other end.

“Before they scored the second goal I thought there was only one team in it,” continued Ray. “Conditions didn’t make it easy. The pitch was bobbly and it was as windy as hell, but I thought the effort and endeavour were really good.”

Tall attacking midfielder Alassane N’Diaye, who was once at Championship club Crystal Palace, caught the eye on his home debut and was named the sponsor’s man of the match on a sunny but cold afternoon at The Pilot Field.

“He’s a presence which is what we were looking for,” Ray added. “He gives us a different option and I thought he was unlucky with his offside goal (N’Diaye saw a header ruled out for offside just before the 20-minute mark).”

United remain just behind Thurrock, who occupy the final safe spot of third-from-bottom, on goal difference with 10 matches remaining. Next up is a Sussex Senior Cup semi-final against fellow Ryman Premier side Bognor Regis Town at Lancing tomorrow night.

Ryman Premier bottom seven (played-points): Wingate & Finchley 37-35, Harrow Borough 34-34, Cray Wanderers 34-34, Lewes 36-32, Thurrock 32-29, HASTINGS UNITED 32-29, Carshalton Athletic 37-28.