Hastings United have become the first club in the top eight tiers of English football to score 100 league goals this season.
United brought up their century and moved into the Ryman League Division One South play-off spots with a tremendous 5-0 win at home to third-placed Carshalton Athletic last night (Tuesday).
“We’ve scored over 100 goals now and that’s some achievement at any level of football,” said United manager Darren Hare, whose team has netted 101 times in 34 league games.
United have scored four or more goals in 13 league matches this term, including three of their last four, and they are averaging only a shade under three-per-game.
But while the attacking feats are inevitably the topic of much conversation, Hare believes that key to United’s splendid recent form has been a marked improvement in defence.
United have kept five consecutive clean sheets and have conceded just twice during a splendid seven-match run in which they’ve picked up 19 points.
“That’s the difference,” Hare continued. “We’ve scored in every game this season and I think had we had that (defensively resolute) mentality earlier on in some games, then who knows.
“I do think it’s taken us a bit of time to get the right mix, get the right players in, find the right shape that suits the players that we’ve got and I think we’re starting to find that now - and starting to find a level of consistency.”
Having seemed in danger of drifting out of play-off contention just a few weeks ago, United now occupy the fifth and final play-off place, and are just three points behind Carshalton with two games in hand.
But it’s all very tight. Just six points separate Carshalton and eighth-placed Lewes, although United do have the advantage of possessing the best goal difference of anyone in the country’s top eight tiers.
Ryman Division One South top 10 (played-points): 1 Tooting & Mitcham United 34-77 (+52 goal difference), 2 Dorking Wanderers 34-74 (+44), 3 Carshalton Athletic 36-67 (+32), 4 Greenwich Borough 34-66 (+30), 5 HASTINGS UNITED 34-64 (+53), 6 Corinthian-Casuals 34-63 (+18), 7 Hythe Town 34-62 (+23), 8 Lewes 34-61 (+6), 9 Faversham Town 34-56 (+26), 10 Cray Wanderers 33-56 (+11).
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