FA Cup display pleases Hastings boss - now for big double header

Chris Agutter praised a professional FA Cup win as Hastings United’s season begins to take shape nicely.

Gary Elphick battles away for the Us at Beckenham / Picture: Scott White
Gary Elphick battles away for the Us at Beckenham / Picture: Scott White

Now he is looking forward to leading his team into a big bank holiday weekend double leader which he hopes will bring their first Isthmian League win of the campaign.

Goals by Sam Hasler, Tom Chalmers and Freddie Legg eased the Us into the Cup’s preliminary round, in which they’ll travel to Middlesex-based Spartan Premier League side Harefield a week tomorrow. But for now the team’s focus returns to league matters and they go to Ramsgate tomorrow and host Whitehawk on Monday in front of a huge Pilot Field crowd.

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Agutter said: “It was a professional performance to beat a Beckenham side who I think would finish mid-table in our league. We were much improved from our first game (v Herne Bay). We scored three and could have had five.

Jack Dixon on the run at Beckenham / Picture: Scott White

“So far we’ve not conceded from open play and our goals have been shared around. Popey (Ben Pope) has been brilliant and will score goals but we will always need others weighing in and they are doing so. We want 15-plus this season from Sam Hasler and ten-plus from Tom Chalmers.”

The final goal at Beckenham was a first competitive first-team strike for 17-year-old winger Legg, and having the youngster and experienced wideman Dave Martin in his squad is delighting Agutter.

The manager said: “Freddie’s one of the most exciting players I’ve worked with – he has serious quality.

“If he can develop half the amount of quality Dave has, he has a real chance of following the likes of Benn Ward (the young United midfielder snapped up by Burnley).”

Tom Chalmers heads in for Hastings at Beckenham / Picture: Scott White

Agutter’s first target for the busy weekend is to get through it without losing. “Ramsgate try to play a bit more than some teams we face, they’re like us, and it will be interesting to see what Whitehawk have.

“We could have well over 1,000 fans there Monday and to get that many at step four is credit to Billy Wood and what the club’s doing off the field to attract new, young fans.

“Then in the Cup we can look forward to another awayday to a club we don’t normally play.”

Midfielder Ryan Worrall looks set to be out for around three months with ankle ligament damage. Agutter said: “It’s a big blow.”