United out to avoid FA Cup upset

Bright Temba closes down an opponent during Hastings United's 2-0 win at home to East Grinstead Town on Monday. Picture courtesy Scott White

Bright Temba closes down an opponent during Hastings United's 2-0 win at home to East Grinstead Town on Monday. Picture courtesy Scott White

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Hastings United’s footballers must be ‘on their toes’ to avoid being on the receiving end of an FA Cup upset today (Saturday).

That’s the verdict of manager Darren Hare as the U’s prepare to visit lower grade Camberley Town in a preliminary round tie worth £3,000 to the winners from the FA’s prize fund.

East Grinstead Town's goalkeeper is beaten by Jay May's shot for Hastings United's second goal on Monday. Picture courtesy Scott White

East Grinstead Town's goalkeeper is beaten by Jay May's shot for Hastings United's second goal on Monday. Picture courtesy Scott White

Hare said: “I think it’s important for the coffers to at least get through this round if we can and maybe the next one. We need to make sure we’re on our toes and looking forward to the game.”

United have picked up eight points from their first four Ryman Football League Division One South matches, while Camberley have taken six from five in the Combined Counties Football League Premier Division, which is one level further down the non-league pyramid.

Although Camberley play at the same level as the Cray Valley (PM) side which United comfortably saw off 2-0 in the previous round, Hare is expecting a ‘much tougher’ assignment this time.

“We’ve had them watched twice, and they’ve got energy, pace and a bit of quality so it’s not going to be easy,” continued Hare, who says his team will adopt a similar approach to the Cray Valley tie.

Hastings United's Sam Cole hurdles the East Grinstead Town goalkeeper. Picture courtesy Scott White

Hastings United's Sam Cole hurdles the East Grinstead Town goalkeeper. Picture courtesy Scott White

In-form loan striker Jay May is ineligible, but fellow forwards Frannie Collin and Bright Temba returned from injury last weekend without any ill-effects.

Hare is hoping Matt Bodkin (hamstring) will be fit after sitting out Monday’s 2-0 win over East Grinstead Town, while Steve Watt (calf) is doubtful for tomorrow but hopes to be fit for the league match at home to Sittingbourne on Tuesday night (or FA Cup replay should today’s tie end in a draw). Richard Davies will return to the defence.

May’s 30-day loan from Maidstone United will finish next weekend and Hare believes it’s unlikely that the six-goal forward will stay at The Pilot Field beyond that initial month.

“Unfortunately that (his goal return) could mean Maidstone will want him back,” Hare said. “I think they’re still short of a forward. At the moment anyway I don’t think we’ll be extending his loan, but 10 days is a long time in football and things could change. I’d say there’s only a 20 percent chance.”

Hare is still looking to strengthen, though, and says there could be one or two developments on that front by the league fixture against Godalming Town next weekend. It’s possible one or two players may be let go to make way for any arrivals.

Although unbeaten in their five games in all competitions so far this term, Hare says United will play better as the season progresses.

He said: “Eight points from four games - that’s two points a game - so I can’t be too disappointed with that. We’re still finding our feet, that bit of confidence and our match fitness if I’m honest.

“It hasn’t been an easy start (with several early season injuries), but we’re ploughing through it. I think we’ve got character and I don’t think there’s going to be many days where we don’t have a go.”

Hare added that he’d never seen a game like last Saturday’s 3-3 draw away to Chipstead, in which United recovered from 3-0 down to draw level by half time, and was happy to come away with a point. He said he will settle for the three points from Monday’s victory, but felt his team was still in a bit of a daze from Saturday’s game during the first half.

TODAY'S FOOTBALL FIXTURES

FA CUP

1st round qualifying (3pm)

Camberley Town v Hastings United

MACRON STORE SOUTHERN COMBINATION FOOTBALL LEAGUE (3pm)

Division 1

Little Common v Oakwood

Selsey v Bexhill United

Division 2

Rustington v Westfield

MACRON EAST SUSSEX FOOTBALL LEAGUE (3pm unless stated)

Premier Division

Battle Baptists v Robertsbridge United (2pm)

Hawkhurst United v St Leonards Social

Hollington United v Sedlescombe Rangers (2pm)

Ore Athletic v Eastbourne Rangers

Westfield II v Rock-a-Nore

Division 1

Crowhurst v Little Common II

Icklesham Casuals v Wadhurst United

Mountfield United v Bexhill Town

Northiam 75 v Rye Town (2pm)

The JC Tackleway v Herstmonceux

Division 2

Hastings Rangers v Mayfield (2pm)

St Leonards Social II v Hastings Athletic

Ticehurst v Peche Hill Select

Westfield III v Bexhill AAC

Division 3

Battle Baptists II v Punnetts Town (4pm)

Hailsham Athletico v Catsfield

Hollington United II v Bexhill Rovers (4pm)

Pebsham Sibex v Bexhill United II

Sedlescombe Rangers II v Orington

Division 4

Bexhill AAC II v The JC Tackleway II

Magham Down v Victoria Baptists

Mayfield II v Sandhurst

Parkfield v Hawkhurst United II

Sovereign Saints v West Hill United

Division 5

Bexhill Spartans v Battle Baptists III

Hampden Park v Robertsbridge United II

Northiam 75 II v Cranbrook Town (4pm)

Sedlescombe Rangers III v Bexhill Broncos (4pm)

West Hill United II v Wittersham II

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