‘The best goal I’ve seen for three or four years’ was how Hastings United Football Club manager Chris Agutter described Sam Cruttwell’s wonder strike on Saturday.
Cruttwell unleashed a 35-yard thunderbolt into the top corner to kick-start Hastings’ recovery from 2-0 down to win 3-2 at home to Bostik League South East Division leaders Cray Wanderers.
Agutter said: “The quality of the football was better than the level, being quite blunt. Sam Cruttwell’s goal was the best goal I’ve seen for three or four years - unbelievable strike - and the second goal was a great team goal, well-worked, Davide (Rodari) pops up and does what he does.”
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Asked if it was his most satisfying win as a manager, Agutter continued: “It’s definitely up there. When two teams come together like that and it’s built up in terms of being an entertaining game, sometimes it can be a bit cautious and a bit tight, but it was brilliant. A really good advert for the league and a great game of football.
“I’m just pleased that the supporters have certainly got their money’s worth and that we’re on the winning side.
“I thought we looked nervous early doors actually and I think that affected some of our decision-making. Two quick free kicks has done us, which we’re obviously disappointed with and need to look at, but the way we reacted and the way we didn’t panic was really pleasing. It just shows there’s a good character, good mentality among the group, and a belief in what we’re doing.
“It (going 2-0 down early on) didn’t knock us out of our stride at all if anything. A great reaction and great comeback from 2-0 against I think they’re the best team defensively in the league, and 3-2 probably doesn’t do us justice actually.
“I thought when we went 3-2, we probably could’ve gone four or five. I’m really pleased we’ve had the day we’ve had, a really good win.”
Bostik League South East Division top half (played-points): 1 Cray Wanderers 29-71 (+40 goal difference), 2 Horsham 30-58 (+22), 3 Ashford United 29-57 (+32), 4 HASTINGS UNITED 30-56 (+23), 5 Haywards Heath Town 29-55 (+19), 6 Hythe Town 30-44 (+7), 7 VCD Athletic 28-44 (+2), 8 Whyteleafe 29-41 (+8), 9 Phoenix Sports 29-39 (-3), 10 Ramsgate 30-37 (+2).
* HASTINGS United’s development squad will entertain Herne Bay in Bostik League Development South tonight (Monday), kick-off 7.45pm.