Cup Run Ends

The early season FA Cup run enjoyed by Hastings United came to an end on 16th October when they were beaten 3-1 by Maidenhead. The ‘U’s had travelled to Berkshire along with more than 200 supporters with high hopes of upsetting their more illustrious hosts, three tiers above them in the non-league football pyramid, and reaching the first round proper of the competition for the first time since 2013.  But it was not to be. 

The home side were swift out of the blocks, taking a lead in the fourth minute and doubling it on the half hour. Within another couple of minutes Kenny Pogue, put through by Sam Hasler, pulled a goal back for Hastings at the second attempt, and they could feel a tad unfortunate not to be level at halftime. But Maidenhead’s third goal at the start of the second half restored the two goal advantage, and thereafter they rarely looked like conceding further. The ‘U’s clearly missed the suspended Ben Pope up front, and were indebted to some fine saves by goalkeeper Louis Rogers to keep them in contention to the end.

Manager Chris Agutter has made it clear that Isthmian League success is of much more concern to him than cup glory, and, while Hastings have been on the cup trail, Haywards Heath Town and Cray Valley PM have been setting a fast pace at the top. But the ‘U’s rebounded with two away wins, 3-0 at Hythe and 4-2 last Saturday at bottom-of-the-table Phoenix Sports. Pogue continued his scoring form with a goal in the first and a hat-trick in the second.  Now they have three successive home fixtures, hosting Ashford United on Tuesday of this week and Whitstable Town next Tuesday (2nd November) in league fixtures, with an FA Trophy match against Felixstowe & Walton tomorrow (Saturday) sandwiched in between.

Until the Ashford game Hastings had played only two home league games in two and a half months, and only seven in all compared to the leaders’ ten.  There’s plenty of playing time to catch up. 


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