Hailsham boss Ian Stevens hopes fine Vase victory can inspire league improvement

Simon Stevens scored the winner in the FA Vase
Simon Stevens scored the winner in the FA Vase

Hailsham Town will hope last week’s fine result in the FA Vase can help their league form as they return to action at Broadbridge Heath on Saturday.

A goal from Simon Stevens ensured they progressed in the FA Vase thanks to a hard-fought 1-0 victory against Gravesham Borough of the Kent Invicta Football League.

Hailsham Town will host Ascot United of the Hellenic League on Saturday, November 21 in the second round.

Ascot are currently third in their division which is the same step on the football pyramid as Hailsham, and they have not played ‘The Yellamen’ before in a competitive match.

But before that Hailsham have crucial games against Broadbridge Heath in the league, Lewes at the Beaconsfield in the Sussex Senior Cup next Tuesday, followed by another key league game against Wick and Barnham.

Boss Ian Stevens said, “The Vase result has given everybody at the club a lift. We really needed that and we have to take that into our next set of games.

“We have struggled in the league this season but our next two are against Broadbridge Heath and Wick & Barnham.

These are the matches that we have to pick up wins from and we will be doing our best to get six points from these two games.

“There are two leagues within this league. You have the teams at the top who can afford the players and then you have five or six of us scrapping it out at the bottom.

“It’s tough to get in the players we want because the first question they ask is ‘how much?’ But it’s a challenge. It’s easy to manage with money. We have to do it differently. We have to work with the youngsters and build a team spirit.

“The fans and the committee have been great and they know what we are up against. We are working hard to improve results and hopefully get more fans through the gate

Hailsham have had to rely on their youth players for much of the season as tight finances and a lengthy injury list has made it difficult to compete.

But with the experience of Luke Snashell, Sean Lee, Danny Williams and the Divall brothers Jack and Sam easing their way back to full-fitness, Stevens is hoping their fortunes will improve.

Stevens added, “We still have a few players out like Danny Leach, he’s a big miss, but we are getting some back too and that will help us massively.

“We have also been able to bring in Tyler Capon (brother of Eastbourne Town player Aaron). He came on the other day and looked very promising.”

Simon Stevens, who scored the Vase winner, will miss the Broadbridge Heath and Lewes match due to suspension.