Hastings United vs Sittingbourne – League Preview
On Saturday 22nd February Hastings United will host Kent’s Sittingbourne for an Isthmian League encounter.
After Storm Dennis washed-out United’s much-awaited trip to in-form Chichester City, last Saturday offered a chance for the ‘U’s to put their feet up and keep a watchful eye on the results of the few surviving fixtures.
Second-placed Ashford United hosted sixteenth-placed Haywards Heath Town whilst third-placed Whitehawk travelled to nineteenth-placed Ramsgate.
And if anyone needed reminding that there are absolutely no easy games in this league, Ashford drew 1 – 1 after trailing at half-time, and Whitehawk, having led 2 – 0, were pegged back in the second-half to draw 2 – 2.
The upshot being Whitehawk crept to within three points of United, and Ashford’s point took them to the top of the table courtesy of their improved goal-difference. It is the first time United have been off the top spot since 3rd December. Though, of course, both of those teams have now played a game more than United.
Form and status
In their last game, United suffered only their second league defeat of the season when Ashford ruined the Pilot Field’s unbeaten standing. Their first defeat, also by Ashford, followed an unbeaten start to the season of fifteen games. At the time United put this behind them and compiled a run of eight more games unbeaten before our nemesis rolled into town.
United’s six-game form guide shows two wins, three draws and the one loss.
So, United have been pushed into second-place in the league, equal on points with Ashford but with a game in hand.
Sittingbourne are in fifteenth place in the table after a mixed bag of a season. They’ve won eight games, drawn four and lost twelve. And they are in the midst of a tough run of games having recently played Whitehawk (twice), Guernsey and Ashford.
Also, with the odd exception, they frequently win or lose by the odd goal. They’ve played out numerous 1 – 0’s and 2 – 1’s, some they win, some they lose. Then they go and thrash Ramsgate 7 – 0.
But the Brickies are currently at the very bottom of the six-game form guide. They’ve lost four on the bounce and five overall, with a draw against Whitehawk completing the sequence. Yet Sittingbourne had put together a run of three wins before this.
The teams met at the beginning of December with United winning, yes 1 – 0, courtesy of Gary Elphick’s goal early in the second-half.
Even though it goes without saying, there is absolutely no time like the present for United to start another unbeaten run of games and to raise the drawbridge on the Pilot Field fortress to stop anyone else leaving with points.
It’s hard to gauge Sittingbourne but it will be a surprise if Saturday does not prove to be another close game.
The game kicks off at 3pm, the Pilot Field (Elphinstone Road, TN34 2AX)
Admission is £10 for adults, £6 for concessions and under 16s free.