Hastings United Football Club manager Chris Agutter praised ‘a professional performance’ in last weekend’s 3-0 win at home to Ramsgate.
Two Daniel Ajakaiye goals after Bradley Stevenson’s early opener gave Hastings a comfortable victory which consolidated second place in the Bostik League South East Division.
Agutter said: “I think professional is the best word to describe it. They had a couple of chances early on in the first half, a couple of breakaways, but other than that I thought it was pretty straightforward. It was more relaxing than some of the previous days at the office.
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“I can remember when we beat Horsham at home 2-0 early on in the season. We felt at the time it was a really good result and it sort of went under the radar in amongst the FA Cup run.
“I think this might be the same sort of thing because it looked so comfortable. I think that’s more credit to the lads and the level they’re playing at rather than Ramsgate not being at it. I thought it was a really good, solid, professional performance.”
Agutter confirmed that Adam Lovatt, who came off at half time, was struggling with injury, but Stevenson’s withdrawal in the second half wasn’t due to injury.
“Adam Lovatt did a fitness test before the game,” continued Agutter. “In hindsight maybe it was a bit of a risk. He’s just got an impact injury from (the previous weekend’s match against) Three Bridges. One of their industrious tackles has taken half his foot off.
“He strapped it up and thought he would get through it, but he wasn’t himself. It probably wasn’t fair on Adam to make him try and play because he wasn’t 100 percent, but Crutts (Sam Cruttwell) came on at half time and I thought he was excellent.
“Brad’s still coming back to fitness. The Three Bridges game was the first 90 minutes he’s played in over a year so it’s very much a case of building his minutes up. It’s almost like a pre-season for him.”
Hastings captain Sam Adams was taken off midway through the second half, shortly after directing some angry words in the direction of the home dugout.
“To be fair to Sam he’s had a heavy week,” added Agutter. “He did the (Hastings Half) marathon on the Sunday after the Saturday game and obviously we train hard so he was due a rest.
“Sam’s a bit like me; he gets a bit irritable when he’s tired. Words were exchanged, but it is what it is. We encourage the players to be open and honest. I would much rather have a dressing room full of people like that than a load of newts. It shows you care so that’s fine.”
Bostik League South East Division top half (played-points): 1 Cray Wanderers 31-72 (+39 goal difference), 2 HASTINGS UNITED 32-62 (+28), 3 Horsham 32-62 (+24), 3 Ashford United 31-61 (+35), 5 Haywards Heath Town 31-56 (+16), 6 VCD Athletic 31-50 (+4), 7 Hythe Town 32-47 (+7), 8 Whyteleafe 31-42 (+6), 9 Phoenix Sports 31-40 (-5), 10 Whitstable Town 31-39 (-14).