Hastings United boss praises team’s character and resilience

Lanre Azeez wins a header during Hastings United's 3-3 draw away to Phoenix Sports. Picture courtesy Scott White
Lanre Azeez wins a header during Hastings United's 3-3 draw away to Phoenix Sports. Picture courtesy Scott White

Chris Agutter praised the character and resilience of his Hastings United footballers after Saturday’s 3-3 draw at Phoenix Sports.

Hastings recovered from an early 2-0 deficit to take a 3-2 lead with only minutes to go only to concede an added time equaliser from the penalty spot.

Agutter, Hastings’ manager, said: “I’m pleased we got a point out of it after the start, but it was very frustrating at the end.

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“At 2-0 down I probably would’ve taken a point. We made the best of a difficult situation in a tough place. They’re effective, they’re very basic and they do the ugly side of the game well.

“Individual mistakes have cost us on the day, but it was an opportunity to show the great character and resilience amongst the group. Whenever we get kicked in the teeth we always seem to fight back and go again. I think we’re very resilient, there’s almost like a never-say-die attitude amongst the players.”

Agutter made a double substitution at half time, bringing on Youssouf Bamba and Lanre Azeez, and Hastings went on to dominate the second period.

“We just felt where the pitch was so tight, also the playing surface was very poor, we couldn’t really play through,” Agutter continued.

“We changed from a three-man midfield and went to a more flat 4-4-2 because we didn’t need the extra man in the middle of the pitch and what space there was would’ve been wide.

“It worked. It was all one-way traffic second half, we deservedly got back on level terms and then went ahead. Even at 3-3 we had another chance. We carried a threat every single attack. Lanre and Youssouf both made a really big impact.

“The goals we conceded were mistakes really; they didn’t carve us open at all. They were errors which you can’t really legislate for.

“It’s a tough place to go, they’re an awkward team to play against. It’s a ground you’ve got to go to and grind a result out. On another day, where we haven’t made the individual errors we have, we could’ve won it two or 3-0.”

Bostik League South East Division top half (played-points): 1 Cray Wanderers 20-51 (+25 goal difference), 2 HASTINGS UNITED 20-41 (+22), 3 Horsham 20-38 (+14), 4 Ashford United 20-36 (+18), 5 Whyteleafe 20-35 (+18), 6 Haywards Heath Town 20-33 (+9), 7 Hythe Town 20-31 (+5), 8 VCD Athletic 19-31 (+3), 9 Sevenoaks Town 20-27 (-1), 10 Phoenix Sports 19-26 (+2).