Hastings United had won six out of seven Bostik League games this season and lay fourth in the table with several games in hand on teams above them prior to last Tuesday’s home match against Greenwich Borough. However, league leaders Cray Wanderers have come out of the blocks even faster, with only two points dropped from their opening ten matches    nine wins and a draw    putting them ten points clear. United are due to travel to Cray’s ground at Bromley on Sunday 11th November for what both sides will feel (whatever respective managers may say publicly) amounts to an early season showdown.

The match has been shifted from the Saturday because Bromley have a home FA Cup tie against Peterborough on that day, and the Sunday re-scheduling seems in itself to give the match a heightened profile. United will be hoping for a large contingent of travelling support to make the journey up the A21. It will be a 3 o’clock kick-off, time enough to get there after the Remembrance centenary at 11 am that morning.

What supporters won’t want to remember for too long is United’s last Sunday outing two weekends ago to Guernsey. The match was beamed by live closed-circuit Guernsey TV back to the United Sports and Social Club off Elphinstone Road where around 100 supporters gathered to watch. Screen black-outs due to technical failures were matched by poor football fare on a bumpy pitch. Although the ‘U’s won 1-0, they gave a stuttering performance, unable to keep possession of the ball and fortunate that the home team spurned a number of chances to equalise after Sam Adams had notched a first half goal. Midfielder Sam Cruttwell, openly criticised by manager Chris Agutter for “giving up” in the FA Trophy defeat by Whyteleafe at Pilot Field the previous Saturday, was kept on the bench.

Agutter has signed two new forwards in recent weeks – Youssuf Bamba, a flying left-winger who scored over 20 goals in half a season to get Walton Casuals  promoted last season, and another speedy attacker from Ashford United, Lanre Azeez. The manager has admitted that he may
have to release one or two first team squad players to make room.

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