'We're under-cooked' - but Hastings United boss is calm about opening-day result

Chris Agutter was happy to open Hastings United’s 2021-22 account with a point and admitted: We’re still under-cooked.

Dave Martin scores four minutes into his Hastings United debut / Picture: Scott White
Dave Martin scores four minutes into his Hastings United debut / Picture: Scott White

United began their new Isthmian south east promotion bid with a 1-1 draw at home to Herne Bay, with new signing Dave Martin scoring just four minutes into his debut.

Agutter says his team are a long way from being at their strongest so a point against a likely title rival suits him.

The team now take an early break from league matters with an FA Cup preliminary round visit to step five side Beckenham tomorrow.

Ben Pope in the thick of it in Hastings' 1-1 draw with Herne Bay / Picture: Scott White

Agutter said: “It was a fair result. Herne were decent, as expected. It was nice to get off the mark when we’re under-cooked.

“Some of our players hadn’t played for a while and in terms of how prepared we are I’d say we’re four or five out of 10.

“Herne were celebrating the point like they’d won the World Cup so the result suited both teams.

“We will get stronger over time.”

The Pilot Field faithful are back / Picture: Scott White

Agutter praised the instant impact of former Crystal Palace, Millwall and Southend United winger Martin.

He has spent the past couple of seasons at Whitehawk and Agutter said the 36-year-old would bring miuch to the team and the dressing room.

“He topped our sprint distances on Saturday and is in great shape. And having players like him, Gary Elphick and Craig Stone around can only help our younger players.

“And he’ll be a brilliant role model for young up-and-coming winger like Freddie Webb.”

Martin said: “It’s nice to be playing for Hastings United.

“It’s a great football club going places, with a brilliant fanbase.”

Agutter takes Hastings to Beckenham tomorrow insisting an FA Cup run can give the team impetus for their league campaign.

“They have a lovely playing surface that will suit us but winning is not a given. We want to win every game and a Cup run would be useful,” he said.

They will be without midfielder Ryan Worrall, who suffered ankle ligament damage against Herne.

Agutter said: “He could be out three or four months but we don’t know yet. We don’t need to bring someone else in, we have the squad to cope.”