U’s aiming to climb tight league

Hastings United goalkeeper Josh Pelling tips the ball over the crossbar during the 2-0 FA Trophy defeat away to Cray Wanderers on Sunday. Picture courtesy Joe Knight
Hastings United goalkeeper Josh Pelling tips the ball over the crossbar during the 2-0 FA Trophy defeat away to Cray Wanderers on Sunday. Picture courtesy Joe Knight
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Hastings United are involved in a tight league where teams are all capable of beating each other, according to manager Dom Di Paola.

The new boss watched games involving other Ryman Football League Division One South clubs on Saturday and Tuesday, and believes desire is crucial to the results.

Di Paola said: “Everyone’s pretty much the same. It’s a league where people can beat each other. You’ve got to be on it on the day. If not, you’ll lose.

“Get some wins and all of a sudden you’re looking up and you’re in a positive position. Because it’s so tight, you can come from nowhere and fly up the league. But equally you can fall down the league as well.

“I’ve seen a lot of teams in the last week and they’re all on their day very similar. They all play a similar style of football and it’s all about the team who wants it the most.”

Di Paola, who has added to his squad with the signings of East Preston duo Charlie Farmer and Joe Shelley, is expecting a tough game when United return to league action at Whyteleafe today (Saturday).

Although the U’s are 15 positions and 12 points behind their third-placed opponents, they did come from behind to win 2-1 on the same ground in the FA Cup last month thanks to goals from Sam Adams and Ade Olorunda’s stunning winner.

“If we can get some results against some of the teams in the top half, I think that will bring us on in terms of belief and confidence,” added Di Paola.

TODAY’S FOOTBALL FIXTURES

(Kick-off 3pm unless stated)

Ryman League, Division 1 South: Whyteleafe v Hastings Utd.

Macron Store Sussex County League, Division 2: AFC Uckfield Town v Little Common; Bexhill Utd v Rustington; Worthing Utd v Westfield.

Reserve Section (East): Burgess Hill & Hurst Albion v Bexhill Utd.

Hastings & District FA Intermediate Cup, 1st round: Battle Baptists v Hollington Utd 2.30; Little Common II v Sedlescombe Rangers; Westfield II v Peche Hill Select 2.30.

East Sussex League, Premier Division: Ninfield Utd v Ore Athletic; Rock-a-Nore v Iden; St Leonards Social v Robertsbridge Utd.

Division 2: Crowhurst v Catsfield.

Division 3: Hastings Rangers v Eastbourne Athletic.

Division 4: Bexhill Utd III v St Leonards Social II; Burwash v Bexhill AAC II.

Division 5: Magham Down v Battle Baptists II.

Division 6: Hampden Park Utd v Icklesham Casuals II; Hawkhurst Utd II v Sedlescombe Rangers III.

Wisdens Sports Challenge Cup, 2nd round (2.30): Bexhill AAC v Hawkhurst Utd; Eastbourne Rangers v Sandhurst; Herstmonceux v Hollington Utd II; Icklesham Casuals v Wadhurst Utd; Little Chelsea v Mountfield Utd; Northiam 75 v Wittersham; JC Tackleway v Old Hastonians; Ticehurst v Sidley Utd.

Little Marabou Challenge Cup, 2nd round (2.30): Bexhill-On-Sea v Ninfield Utd II; Conquest Utd v Little Common III; Peche Hill Select II v Bexhill Rovers; Sovereign Saints v Peasmarsh Utd; Visick v Hooe Sports; West Hill Utd v Herstmonceux II; Westfield III v AFC Hastings.

Eastbourne Coach Finishers Challenge Cup, 2nd round (2.30): AFC St Leonards v Ticehurst II; Grasshoppers Old Boys v FC Westridge; Hailsham Athletico v Sedlescombe Rangers II; Mayfield v JC Tackleway II; Orington v Punnetts Town II; Parkfield v Robertsbridge Utd II; Victoria Baptists v Sandhurst II; Wittersham II v Battle Baptists III.

Ryman U21 League, South Division: Worthing v Hastings Utd.