United in five-way relegation scrap

Jason Hopkinson concedes that Hastings United are realistically one of five clubs battling to avoid the four relegation places.

Hastings ended their 11-match losing run with a 2-2 draw at home to fellow strugglers Folkestone Invicta on Tuesday night and moved out of the Ryman Football League Premier Division drop zone on goal difference in the process.

But they are 10 points adrift of sixth-bottom Tooting & Mitcham United and only one above a rock-bottom Croydon Athletic side which led 2-0 at Horsham in midweek when the match was abandoned after 65 minutes due to fog.

Hastings manager Hopkinson said: “If you’re realistic, it looks like there’s a little bit of daylight between fifth-bottom and sixth-bottom. It’s a mini-league at the bottom and we’ve got to pick up more points than those around us.

“We’ve got to keep plugging away and hopefully we’ll pick up a bit of momentum. If we can put a run together where we don’t get beaten for three or four games, we’ll be okay.”

Hastings will certainly have their work cut out if they’re to make it successive games without defeat because on Saturday they travel to a third-placed Lowestoft Town side which is eight points behind leaders Sutton United with four games in hand.

Hopkinson was due to speak to Jimmy Elford on Wednesday night to determine if the full-back is ready to return following concussion, while striker Ashley Robinson is expected to be sidelined for another 2-3 weeks.

The full article will appear in Friday’s Hastings Observer.

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

Ryman League, Premier Division: Lowestoft Town v Hastings Utd.

Sussex County League, Division 1: Rye Utd v Wick; Sidley Utd v Crowborough Athletic.

Division 2: Little Common v Lancing 2; Mile Oak v Bexhill Utd; Westfield v Oakwood 2.