East meets West as ‘U’s go hunting points

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Haywards Heath Town vs Hastings United – Isthmian League

On Saturday 27th November sixth-placed United travel to West Sussex once again this time to face fourth-placed Haywards Heath Town. The ‘U’s have played four of the top five teams but are yet to taste victory following a draw with Herne Bay and defeats to Cray Valley, Ramsgate and Ashford United. A change to that statistic would be most welcome.

United’s six-game form – WLLWWW

The W’s in the form column have reappeared. Hurrah! After beating Burgess Hill Town in the Sussex Senior Cup United have backed this victory up with two hard-fought wins in the league. In successive game the ‘U’s have fallen a goal behind early on but then the opposition have had a man dismissed with plenty of the game remaining. While this scenario sounds appealing it actually presents a different type of challenge when the opponent puts ten men behind the ball, as both teams did, being content to hold on to what they had. On both occasions United left it late to finally make the vital breakthrough. Ten minutes to go when Ben Pope scored the winner last Saturday at Three Bridges and time was almost up when Jack Dixon’s instinctive strike settled the game on Tuesday night against Sittingbourne.

With those two league wins the ‘U’s have risen to sixth place on 25 points having played 13 games after eight wins, a draw and four defeats. United have one game in hand on most of the teams occupying the places above.

Who are Haywards Heath Town and what’s their six-game form? WWLLLD

Haywards Heath Town, aka ‘The Blues’, hail from the town of the same name in West Sussex. They are currently in fourth place on 29 points after 14 games. This is made up of nine wins, two draws and three defeats. Last Saturday they visited leaders Cray Valley and drew 1 – 1, indeed they came within fifteen minutes of impressive away win.

With regard cup competitions they eased past Lancing in the FA Cup preliminary round but then departed in the first qualifying round, beaten 2 – 0 by Horsham after a 1 – 1 draw at home. In the FA Trophy second qualifying round they were beaten on penalties at Northwood after a 0 – 0 draw. Finally in the Sussex Senior Cup they hosted Brighton and were beaten 6 – 0, which is one of the ‘L’s in their form column. The other two being recent league defeats to Hythe Town and Faversham Town.

Any recent previous meetings?

In the 2019/20 season the teams met three times. In the league the points were shared in a 1 – 1 draw at Hanbury Stadium, this was followed by a 1 – 0 United win in the Velocity Trophy and a 1 – 0 win in the return league fixture. Last season in the league the ‘U’s travelled to Hanbury Stadium on an October Tuesday evening and were on good form. A Kenny Pogue hattrick and a Sam Adams brace gave United a convincing 5 – 1 win.

Bottom line

United have travelled some miles already this season and with some success. Of their 13 away games they’ve won ten (77%) and lost three. In contrast Haywards Heath have played nine home games in which they’ve won five (55%), drawn one and lost three. There’s no love lost between these two sides so we can expect a feisty encounter.

Match information

Saturday 27th November, 3pm kick off at Hanbury Stadium, Allen Rd, Haywards Heath RH16 3PT

Can’t attend? You can follow live game updates via Twitter: @hastingsufc

Bob Quinn
Twitter: @BobJQuinn