In-form Hastings United ‘turning performances into results’

Gary Elphick wins a header during Hastings United's 3-0 win at home to Ramsgate last weekend. Picture courtesy Scott White
Gary Elphick wins a header during Hastings United's 3-0 win at home to Ramsgate last weekend. Picture courtesy Scott White

Hastings United Football Club has turned performances into results over recent weeks, according to manager Chris Agutter.

Hastings have risen to second in the Bostik League South East Division on the back of four successive wins, a sequence in which they’ve scored 11 goals and conceded three.

Agutter said: “I think I said a couple of weeks ago I felt we were playing well and perhaps weren’t getting the results we deserved, and I think now we’ve turned performances into results.”

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The Hastings boss feels his recent recruits have been key to the good run of results and that the team now looks far more secure defensively.

“The impact as well that Gary Elphick has made is massive,” continued Agutter, speaking after last weekend’s 3-0 win at home to Ramsgate.

“I’m pleased it’s obviously gone as well as it has in the short time since he signed because we’ve been trying to get that type of player since the summer.

“It’s nice that he’s come in and made the impact he has because it reinforces where I felt we were maybe short. I just felt we needed a bit more of an experienced head back there and he’s certainly helped us along our way.

“(Jack) Tucker coming in has made a big impact as well. We look very solid at the back now and that’s no disrespect to the players who have ultimately got us into the position they have with their performances.

“I thought Lanre (Azeez) again was superb today. Bradley Stevenson’s come in and scored today, and in the two games he’s carried a hell of a threat so he’s only going to get better.

“I just feel like we’re in a really good place and the players we’ve brought in have only helped that.”

With four games of the regular season to go, Hastings are above third-placed Horsham on goal difference and are a point better off than fourth-placed Ashford United, who have played a game less.

The teams placed second to fifth at the end of the season will contest the play-offs and the play-off winners may be promoted.

There are seven step four leagues across the country and the five play-off winners with the best points-per-game average over the season will go up.

Hastings are without a fixture this weekend as their original opponents, Thamesmead Town, withdrew from the league back in the autumn.

“We’ve worked tremendously hard over the past two or three months,” added Agutter. “It gives us an opportunity to mix it up and change it up a little bit.

“The ball’s in everyone else’s court. Ashford have still got to go and win their game. It’s not a given that they’re going to pick up three points.

“The main thing for us is we wanted to go into that week off with another three points. Come the next game we’ve got good momentum and we’re in a good place. I think the mini rest will do us good actually.”

Horsham are away to Sittingbourne tomorrow and Ashford make the short journey to Hythe Town, while fifth-placed Haywards Heath Town are at home to Whitstable Town.

Hastings’ first team might not be in action tomorrow, but the under-23s have a Bostik League Development South match at home to Molesey. Kick-off at The Pilot Field is 2pm.

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).