Hastings United boss - We have tried to obscure the dark arts

Hastings United manager Chris Agutter admitted that his side have had to ‘obscure the dark arts’ in overcoming robust opposition in the Isthmian South East so far this season.

Hastings United Football Club manager Chris Agutter

His comments come ahead of this weekend’s trip to Sevenoaks Town, who had a man sent off when the two clubs’ last met back in October, when goals from Jack Dixon, Ryan Worrall and Daniel Ajakaiye helped Hastings to a 3-1 win.

The Oaks were also involved in a 22-man brawl in a 4-1 defeat away to Ashford United last Saturday.

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Agutter explained how tough he is expecting it to be. He said: “It will be a competitive game. They’re very aggressive, and very much in your face.

“You only have to see at the weekend there was a brawl when they played against Ashford and it all kicked off here last time.

“So, I have every expectation that they will ruffle our feathers, try and get under our skin and just be really awkward, but we’ve got to be better than that.

“Like we have been for the most of the season, we’ve tried to obscure the dark arts.

“We’ve just got to take it as a compliment but teams are now trying to bend the rules a little bit to try and stop us.

United made it ten home wins out of ten with a narrow 1-0 win over Haywards Heath Town last Saturday, where they also earned their 14th clean sheet of the season in all competitions.

The win means the U’s haven’t lost at home in the league since March last year, in a 4-2 loss to Haywards Heath.

Asked whether he was surprised at just how good their home form has been, Agutter said: “The difference this year is we’re conceding less goals.

“We’ve always scored a lot of goals at home but now we’re stronger as a team when the opposition have got the ball.

“We’ve made changes and improved the way we defend, and improved personnel. It’s massive for us.”