Hastings United manager Nigel Kane has urged the football-loving public to cheer on his team in a crunch contest today (Saturday).
The U’s are offering free admission to their final home game of the Ryman Football League Division One South season against Faversham Town and are hoping for a bumper crowd to boost their survival battle. Kick-off is 3pm.
Kane said: “Hopefully we can create a really good atmosphere, give the team a real lift and make life difficult for Faversham. And hopefully we can reward the chairman’s generous offer.”
With two matches remaining, only goal difference is keeping fourth-bottom United above the three relegation places.
United were four points above the drop zone this time last week, but their 3-2 defeat at South Park on Saturday, coupled with third-bottom Ramsgate achieving a win and a draw in their two fixtures, mean things couldn’t be tighter approaching the penultimate weekend.
Fifth-bottom East Grinstead Town are one point ahead of United with a vastly inferior goal difference, while the three teams immediately above Grinstead - Chipstead, Carshalton Athletic and Walton & Hersham - are not mathematically safe either.
Hopefully we can create a really good atmosphere, give the team a real lift and make life difficult for Faversham.Nigel Kane
“There’s lots of permutations, but all we can focus on is our own game,” continued Kane. “I think three more points will be enough, but as I’ve said before, we’ve got to try and pick up points from every game. Even if we get two draws, that might be enough.”
United’s final fixture is away to Walton & Hersham next weekend, but for now the focus is solely fixed on the aforementioned meeting with second-placed Faversham.
“There’s no doubt that Faversham are going to provide a stern test, but we beat them 5-1 away from home and we’ve played well against all the sides in the top five,” added Kane.
“You would imagine that they must have one eye on the play-offs as well, although they will probably want to secure second spot. We’re just as desperate for the points, if not more so, than they are and we’ll go out looking for a win.”
Ade Olorunda and Richard Rose serve the final game of their suspensions, and Matt Caley is injured, but Sam Adams should be available and Kane says he faces a few selection headaches.
Ryman Division One South relegation run-in - Hastings United (44pts): April 18 Faversham Town (h), April 25 Walton & Hersham (a).
East Grinstead Town (45pts): April 18 Tooting & Mitcham United (h), April 25 Whitstable Town (a).
Ramsgate (44pts): April 18 Horsham (a), April 25 Corinthian-Casuals (h).
Redhill (38pts): April 18 Chipstead (h), April 25 South Park (a).
TODAY’S FOOTBALL FIXTURES
(Kick-off 3pm unless stated)
Ryman League, Division 1 South: Hastings Utd v Faversham Town.
Macron Store Sussex County League, Reserve Section (East): Lingfield v Westfield 4.30; Little Common v Worthing Utd.
Macron East Sussex League, Premier Division: Iden v Battle Baptists; Ore Athletic v Hollington Utd.
Division 1: Hollington Utd II v Bexhill AAC; Ticehurst v Mountfield Utd 1.30.
Division 2: Pebsham Sibex v JC Tackleway.
Division 3: Herstmonceux II v AFC Hastings 3.30.
Division 4: Little Common III v Bexhill AAC II.
Division 5: Battle Baptists II v Magham Down 1.30; Sedlescombe Rangers II v Mayfield; JC Tackleway II v Grasshoppers Old Boys; Ticehurst II v Parkfield 3.30; Victoria Baptists v AFC St Leonards; Wittersham II v Hailsham Athletico (double header 2 & 3.30).
Division 6: Battle Baptists III v Orington 3.30; FC Westridge v Sandhurst II.
Weald of Kent Cup semi-final (2.30): Faversham Harlequins v Wittersham.