United target another cup upset
Having pulled off one cup upset in midweek, Hastings United Football Club is now targeting another.
Fresh off their 2-1 extra-time win away to Crawley Town in the Parafix Sussex Senior Challenge Cup on Tuesday night, United will host Merthyr Town in FA Trophy second round qualifying today (Saturday).
“It will be a different game and it won’t be an easy game at all,” said United manager Garry Wilson. “We don’t know much about them, but we’ll find out a bit more before the game. We know it will be tough.”
United have won eight and drawn one of their 10 cup matches so far this season. Their one defeat came in the FA Cup against Poole Town, who Merthyr beat in the previous round of the FA Trophy.
Merthyr are 16th in the Southern League Premier Division - 13 places below Poole - while United are 11th in Ryman League Division One South, which is one level further down the non-league pyramid.
Such is the geographical distance between the two clubs - around 235 miles - that Merthyr stayed in the area overnight last night.
It’s a game United certainly won’t want to draw because if it does end all-square, a replay will take place at Merthyr on Tuesday night.
If it doesn’t, United will entertain Sittingbourne in round three of the Ryman League’s Alan Turvey Trophy, sponsored by Robert Dyas.
Jack Walder is about to start a four-match ban following his second red card of the season at Chipstead in the previous round and Ollie Rowe has taken over the captaincy, with Sean Ray vice-captain.
“We had a discussion with Jack,” added Wilson. “He was disappointed with his actions and decided he should hand the responsibility to someone else.”
Sam Cole is expected to be out for 3-6 weeks with a calf injury and Zac Attwood’s Achilles problem is still showing little improvement.
United have won 10 of their last 12 games in all competitions, including penalty shoot-outs, after an up-and-down start to the campaign.
“It does take a bit of time to settle with new players, and us getting to know the existing players, and trying to get your best shape and team out,” Wilson continued. “By winning as many games as we have, obviously we’re seeing an improvement. Players are stepping up to the mark, which is really pleasing.”
TODAY’S FOOTBALL FIXTURES
(Kick-off 3pm unless stated)
FA Trophy, 2nd round qualifying: Hastings Utd v Merthyr Town.
Macron Store Southern Combination League,
Division 1: Bexhill Utd v Sidlesham; Selsey v Little Common 2.
Division 2 (2): Westfield v Rustington.
Reserve Section (East): Seaford Town v Westfield.
Macron East Sussex League (2), Premier Division: Battle Baptists v Hollington Utd; Hawkhurst Utd v Rock-a-Nore; Robertsbridge Utd v Ore Athletic; Sedlescombe Rangers v Peche Hill Select; St Leonards Social v Mountfield Utd.
Division 1: Old Hastonians v Crowhurst; Sidley Utd v Wadhurst Utd; The JC Tackleway v AFC Hastings.
Division 2: Hastings Rangers v Catsfield; Icklesham Casuals v Bexhill AAC; Northiam 75 v Peasmarsh Utd; Peche Hill Select II v Little Common III.
Division 3: Burwash v West Hill Utd; Mayfield v Bexhill Utd II; Pebsham Sibex v Herstmonceux II; St Leonards Social II v Orington; Westfield III v Hooe Sports.
Division 4: Bexhill AAC II v Hawkhurst Utd II; Bexhill Rovers v Battle Baptists II; Hailsham Athletico v Punnetts Town; Victoria Baptists v Conquest Utd; Wittersham II v The JC Tackleway II.
Division 5: FC Westridge v Sedlescombe Rangers III; Hampden Park Utd v Battle Baptists III; Sandhurst v Robertsbridge Utd II; St Leonards v Icklesham Casuals II.
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