Unfortunately the league hiatus continues BUT in the meantime Hastings United are back for some FA Trophy action. Hurrah !
Cast your minds back to the 31st October, for the last game before lockdown, and recall our penalty shoot-out win over Ashford Town which put United into the FA Trophy first-round proper. Here’s a reminder of how this game played out… United vs Ashford Town report
So with the league remaining paused it is the FA Trophy where we pick up again with a trip to Essex-based Aveley FC on Tuesday evening, 8th December (7:45pm kick off).
Season to date
Given the enforced break let’s look back on where we are and how we got there.
United are top of the league and unbeaten for the season after seven games. The campaign began with goalless draws against Cray Valley and Faversham after which the ‘U’s embarked upon a run of winning their next five league matches to gallop onto 17 points. The floodgates opened away to Haywards Heath, where a Kenny Pogue hat-trick contributed to a convincing 5-1 win. This was followed by victories against VCD, Three Bridges, Sevenoaks (courtesy of a Ryan Worrall belter) and Whitehawk.
If we bring cup games into the mix the picture continues to look healthy. First the FA Cup where United beat Herne Bay 1-0 and then Chesham United on penalties after a 0-0 draw. Alas we then succumbed to our only ‘defeat’ of the season, a penalty shootout loss away to Ebbsfleet United after a pulsating 2-2 draw in normal time.
And so to the matter at hand, the FA Trophy. United convincingly beat FC Romania 3-0 before the Ashford Town win which brings us to our away trip to Aveley.
Aveley play in the Isthmian North league which is the equivalent of our South East league. The Millers are currently ninth after six games having won three and lost three. They’ve scored eight goals and conceded nine in their league matches. Their last outing was a 3-0 win at home to Beaconsfield Town in the FA Trophy.
This season Aveley reached the FA Cup third qualifying round, winning three times away from home before another away trip to Cray Valley saw them fall to a 2-0 defeat.
Last season they were well placed in second position after 26 games having won fourteen, drawn nine and lost only three times. They also reached the quarter-final of the FA Trophy before an away defeat to Notts County ended a run which lasted eight rounds and included two replays.
However, their team looks to be in transition with only a handful (at most) of last season’s players remaining.
The teams were both in the Isthmian Premier league from 2009 – 2012 and met six times, Aveley winning three and United winning three. King Kenny Pogue scored the winner in a 2-1 home victory the last time the teams met.
United will be looking to continue where they left off !
Prize fund: Winners receive £3,000, losers receive £775.
A reminder, there are no replays in the FA Trophy this season, to assist in easing pressure on the football schedule. The game moves directly to penalties if the scores are level after 90 minutes.
Tuesday 8th December, 7:45pm kick off at Parkside, Park Lane, Aveley, Essex RM15 4PX.
Admission is on the door. Adults £10, Seniors £6 and Under 16s £3.
Aveley are stating an attendance limit of 650. Their highest attendance this season was 397 so there should be plenty of room for United’s travelling support. Even so, get there early if you can.
You can follow live game updates via Twitter: @hastingsufc.
Bob Quinn @BobJQuinn