Ray - ‘It’s still an opportunity for us’

Hastings player-boss Sean Ray
Hastings player-boss Sean Ray

HASTINGS United boss Sean Ray wants his players to make the most of the opportunity to progress in the FA Cup.

The U’s visit Evo-Stik Premier Hitchin Town tomorrow (Monday) in a third qualifying round replay after the first meeting ended in a 2-2 draw.

Hastings were twice pegged back in an indifferent display which had Ray admitting: “It’s a missed opportunity but we’re probably lucky to still be in it after that second half performance. There was a complete lack of concentration. We scored the first goal and conceded straight after, we scored the second goal and dropped off again and stopped doing the right things.

“There seems to be something missing with us at the minute and I am not 100 per cent sure what it is but we dropped to their level in the second half.

“We’re a lot better than we showed but we’re still in the cup,” continued the player-manager. “But it’s going to be difficult going there on Monday night.”

Hastings will want to avoid the fate that befell Ryman Premier rivals Whitehawk in the previous round when they were hammered 5-0 at Hitchin’s Top Field ground after the first match had ended all square.

“We’re still in the cup and that’s the most important thing. We’ve still got another chance and we’ve got to make sure we take the chance now,” Ray went on.

“We’ve got to remain positive, we’ve got to remain upbeat and get it into the boys that it’s still an opportunity for us.”

The winners will pocket £7,500 in prize-money and book a place in the next round where they will be joined by clubs from the Blue Square Bet Premier. The draw for the fourth qualifying round is due to be made on Monday morning.