Dr Martens League Eastern Division 1999-00

Season 99/00

Reports 99/00

1/2/00 Hastings Town (3) 5 Newport IoW (2) 2 [DMC3]

5 more for Town in League Cup romp!

Yates 17, 44 Loft 19, White 54, Playford 57

Att:- 234

Keep it in perspective - only a DM League Cup tie - let’s face it, it’s not a competition that has the nation on the edge of it’s seats. But Town should still take great credit for a fine performance against a side they HAVE to do well against in the two Eastern Division games that lie ahead. Who knows - remember how Ashford’ s season went pear shaped after we stuffed them in this competition.

Newport looked pretty good when this game kicked off but it wasn’t long before Town started to show what they’re capable of. Kess had to show what he can do in the 10th minute, though, after a bad clearance left him exposed. Steve Yates had a good game tonight - and his first goal was similar to those against Storrington - diagonal run into the box followed by a shot across the keeper into the far corner. 1-0 after 17 minutes - and 2-0 after 19 minutes when Lofty was on hand from close in after exceptional work by Duncan McArthur.

Newport got back in the game on 36 minutes when Kess lost his footing trying to deal with a back pass and - worryingly - Spencer Mintram limped off shortly afterwards to be replaced by Stuart Myall who’s still trying to get that troublesome hamstring right.

2-2 after 42 minutes - a quality cross, hard and low right across the goal. But Town showed similar character to that they’d exhibited against Fisher when a two goal lead had disappeared. Steve Yates scored a quite brilliant effort to put Town 3-2 up at half time - three defenders left trailing before slotting home.

Town started off the second half well on top and Stuart Playford was unlucky to see a header crash off the bar from a Terry corner. But 5 minutes later - he was on hand to head in Simmo’s corner from the opposite side. It got better when Terry was found on the corner of the box with a fine pass from Duncan and he beat the keeper comfortably for the fifth.

No more goals as Town dealt pretty comfortably with what Nerwport threw at them. Apart from a terrible miss from inside the 6 yard box, they never really threatened Town’s lead. So - Margate* or Fleet at home in the quarter final. As to tonight - a fine performance against one of the best sides in the Division - but as we all know - two BIG games lie ahead against the same opposition with league points at stake. They are what it is really all about!


Remember - if you want to travel to Town’s away game this Saturday the 5th, DON’T go to the Isle of Wight. Newport are involved in FA Trophy action - we are at Butlin Road playing VS Rugby.


*Margate beat Fleet 5-2

5/2/00 VS Rugby (0) 0 Hastings Town (0) 1


White 84 (p)

Att:- 265

Three more vital points - especially as Newport were FA Trophy engrossed and Folkestone could only draw at Stamford. Fisher won at Corby and we are 4th on 50 points with that big game at home to Folkestone next Saturday followed by a trip to Chelmsford the following weekend.

An outstanding first half at Butlin Road - but, frustratingly, no goals. Lofty should’ve done better with his free header from Danny’s corner, Paul Jones went close and Terry nearly caught the keeper out with a fine, angled effort late in the half. Yet, we had Tony Kessell to thank for it being 0-0 at the interval - a brilliant reflex save from close in and the corner that followed resulted in a goalmouth scramble that ended with Smudger’s clearance.

Town were never able to reproduce their first half form when the game resumed. VS Rugby had a 10 spell on top but never really threatened Kess and the boys eventually weathered that dodgy spell. The second half was more even and was dominated far too much by some very eccentric officiating which, at least, was consistent in that both lots of supporters ended up mystified.

84 minutes - sub Paul Holdaway was fouled just inside the box - yet another spot kick! - and Terry planted it just inside the post - just - the keeper got his fingertips to it. 6 minutes to go? Oh no. The game went on till 5.00 with Town playing possession football to the extent that the VS 15 got himself sent off for an unpleasant looking foul on Danny. Huge celebrations on and off the pitch when that final whistle went and the result meant that missing the 5.06 from Rugby didn’t matter - especially as we still, somehow, managed to get the 7.17 from London Bridge to Battle.

No Spencer today - that knock on his knee on Tuesday keeping him out. Yatesie did a good job at left back. Well played boys! Vital result at a place where Fisher, Folkestone and Newport have picked up one point between them.


League Tracker

For all of those people who use Nigel Thomas' excellent freeware League Tracker program - a new version (4.6) is out now. The main improvement is that it now supports updating from the internet. Alas currently the updates only cover the Premiership and Nationwide division 1, but I'm sure it'll only be a matter of time before the lower leagues are catered for. You can find more information and download it at his website:

We are thinking about having downloads of Hastings Town season data available from this site, any comments?


12/2/00 Hastings Town (0) 0 Folkestone Invicta (0) 1

Town go down to crucial defeat

Att:- 710

Biggest attendance of the season just had to coincide with as poor a performance as you’ll ever see. Even the neutrals in the 710 attendance would’ve gone away thoroughly unimpressed with this standard of football - it was more like a relegation battle than promotion. Neither side impressed - it was an awful game.

Folkestone - 8 points clear at 3.00 - came for a point - we’d have probably done the same in their position. Very little to write home about in the first half apart from Paul Jones’s run down the left in the first minute which saw him cut in only to finish disappointingly. It was a poor first half with the lively moments coming from the odd bout of fisticuffs - one of which saw Duncan McArthur get booked while - somehow - the Folkestone 2 who was equally culpable didn’t even get spoken to. Talking of officiating - the linesman at the end Town were attacking was utterly hopeless and the late calls for some offside decisions had to be seen to be believed.

Folkestone were down to 10 men just before halftime when their 6 deservedly got a red card for a primitive challenge on Duncan McArthur. That set the second half up for non stop Town pressure - we thought - wrongly. Town just never got going in the second half - they seemed happy to play at half pace and apart from a 10 minute spell when the tempo was stepped up - and it was clear then that problems could be caused in the Invicta box - it was non stop lethargy.

Folkestone had the first real chance when a poor pass across the area left Yatesie exposed - he, incidentally, stepping in at left back for the injured Spencer Mintram, had a very good game - and the Folkestone 7 should have done better in his one on one with Kess who deflected the shot for a corner. Lofty should have done better with his 76th minute opportunity - acres of space on the corner of the 6 yard box - he made it all too complicated and his effort was charged down.

So - into the last 10 minutes and a 0-0 bore draw looking the most likely - and deserved - result. But an 84th minute corner was headed in at Kess’s far post to send the visiting supporters and bench wild - we just stood and watched and digested the implications of that goal on our efforts to get back to the Premier Division. Very little added time was played and when that final whistle went - well, speaking for myself - it brought back memories of 85/86 and a home defeat by Cambridge City consigning us to another season in the Southern Division.

This time around - it’s not quite the same - there are still 17 games to go - but we’re 11 points adfrift of the top two. What a depressing afternoon - nobody played well apart from Steve Yates - a terrible game and - looking at the tactics we employed against 10 men - we got what we deserved.


Help Save Hastings Pier

For those following Hastings from afar, or fans of other teams in the DML, Hastings pier is in a little bit of trouble. Following some nasty storms late last year, damage was caused which forced the pier to close. The local paper 'the Observer' has started a campaign to make a list (and publish it each week) of all those people who would like to do something to stop our pier from falling into the sea. Built in the 1870's it is a tribute to the Victorian engineers that it is still standing today; despite the neglect shown in recent times. We urge all of you (wherever you are) to spend just a minute (if that) to e-mail the Observer, and help with their appeal. It may just pressure Hastings council into doing something. Please remember to include your name and a postal address with the e-mail.

Click here to e-mail the Observer


15/2/00 Eastbourne Utd (0) 1 Hastings Town (2) 3 [SSC4]

Town through to Senior Cup semi final

Myall 14, White 25, Elford 82

Att:- 212

Remarkable that this game started let alone finish - a horrendous night with the rain absolutely bucketing down at the end of the 90 minutes. Still worth it, though - to see what was a surprisingly good game bearing in mind the conditions.

Town, still smarting from Saturday’s massive set back - looked in reasonable nick against an Eastbourne Utd side from the nether regions of the Unijet League, Div One - who included in their line up, Dale Seymour who played a few games for Town several years ago.

Shortly after Danny Simmonds went close, Stuart Myall was on hand to rifle home a rebound off a post after a Terry White free kick. That was on 14 minutes - and 10 minutes later, Duncan McArthur hit a post from the edge of the box. It was Terry who doubled the lead with one of those goals that only he can conjure up - from fully 40 yards out he let fly and in it went - a remarkable goal on a par with THAT free kick at Halesowen in 95/96.

Eastbourne’s disadvantage worsened just before half time when a free for all saw them down to 10 men and Shaun Loft booked. But, United certainly made a nuisance of themeslves in the scond half and just after Terry had had another effort well saved, they got back into the game with a header from a quite ludicrously awarded free kick - for what offence, none of us could see.

The weather got worse and the pitch resembled an Olympic style swimming pool - not that we could see a lot with that bane of football spectators dividing us from the action - a running track, which itself, more resembled a moat as the night went on.

Sub, Jimmy Elford, wrapped it up late in the game after good work down the right by - I think - Danny Simmonds. So - into the semi final with a game against Bognor or Horsham YMCA. But - more important - Chelmsford await on Saturday as we attempt to get our promotion push back on line........




Plenty to ramble on about what with all that appeared in last Friday’s Observer about the town’s clubs looking seriously at a merger. Let me assure you that it was one big coincidence that all this should follow on from my comments on this topic in the Folkestone programme a week ago last Saturday. Those comments were sparked off by what I read in the programme at Butlin Road the previous weekend and I stick by those comments.

As I’ve said in the past, not everybody will be 100% happy with the outcome should just the one team be representing Hastings next season. Over the years, two empires - for want of a better expression - have been built up in one form or another and some people will be understandably reluctant to have to dismantle those structures. We see something very similar in the structure of the game at our level - the ludicrous situation that sees us travelling right through the area encompassed by the Ryman League - on our way to the likes of Corby, Raunds and Spalding. But - again, over the years - two empires - the Southern and Isthmian Leagues - have been built up with scant disregard for the obvious benefits of combining parts of the two and hiving off others to the Northern League and a revamped Western League.. And we have ended up with the current, shambolic situation where the two leagues lurch on - or should I say the (anything but) Southern League lurches on - for it is that league that has the bigger problems. A league that - while Margate find themselves having to reschedule to midweek, a postponed fixture at Ilkeston with all the travelling and inconvenience that entails - is Southern in name only. That’s a situation we’ve encountered ourselves - I remember several 1.30 - 2.00 am arrivals outside The Pilot Field. It doesn’t have to be like that - it shouldn’t be like that - and until the FA tackles this major issue, then so football at that level will lurch on in this unsatisfactory way.

Here in Hastings, it may well be the Council that holds the aces - for it can only be the Town Hall that can bring about a decent stadium in Hastings and the thinking from there has always - understandably - been that nothing can happen while there are two clubs in Elphinstone Road. You can hardly expect the Council to put public money into one stadium while ignoring the other - it’s just not going to happen. But, one club, one stadium, then you’re talking - and as has been said so many times - it’s a dream that can be largely, if not entirely, self financed by redeveloping part of the area currently dedicated to football. All the more so with property prices trying to emulate the crazy late 80’s. What we do have though, is the problem of the Council’s attitude towards The Pilot Field and these fatuous proposals to build houses on it. Common sense HAS to prevail.

So - what if it does all come off and the clubs merge? You can’t dismiss the events of last Summer as if they never happened. Will there be people involved in running the new club who were involved in what went on 8 months ago? Does that matter - how important is that? Like everyone else, I have reservations about certain aspects of all this - but compare what might have been - with what might be. The demise of Hastings Town and football played up the road was a much, much less preferable option that what we seem to be looking at here. And - if we end up with one club playing football at a decent stadium (here) - and it is seen to have been brought about properly - then I’m sure many supporters of both clubs will get behind the new one - and a decent stadium will generate interest amongst those in Hastings who, to date, have steered clear of Elphinstone Road.

It’s the only way to go! Many people in the town still have bad vibes about the way Hastings Town moved in after the demise of Hastings United nearly 15 years ago - but football in the town survived that one and there’ve been plenty of good times for the two clubs since - at least four promotions, three Sussex Senior Cups, a Southern League Cup and some fine Premier Division football. There’ve also been not so good times in recent years. Mark Gardiner had to take a lot of flak in his time in local football - but on one topic I agree with the man 100% - imagine the combined resources behind one team.

One final thought on this topic - if we overcome that set back last weekend against Folkestone and get a top two finish - and the merger does go ahead - would the new club be playing Premier Division football next season? Being denied football at the higher level for a second season by rules’n regs would be a difficult one to stomach!

Watch this space.


As a supporter of Town since the 90/91 season it is with mixed feelings that I received this news, as probably with all the fans involved. No doubt if it goes ahead a minority of fans will never again watch local football, such are the feelings involved. 'Yes but only the club plays at The Firs/Pilot Field...' attitudes abound.

What are the alternatives? Well if there was no merger, it is probable that the two clubs will continue to struggle against the odds with the meagre finances available. The level of apathy in Hastings is such that it can't currently support two teams in the DML. Sure we'll lose the booty of the local derby, but hopefully that would be offset with the concentration of advertising revenue.

The council will be more willing to put their money where their mouth is with only one club. Our dreams of a decent stadium in the town would be a little closer. Just think if we'd had a decent stadium when Brighton & Hove were homeless, maybe we'd be in the football league by now. So as long as it's done properly I think it's the way forward for the town. Of course there is the nightmare scenario of if we are promoted as one team, Crawley Town could miss out on being relegated....

Any comments from you the fans who will of course will ultimately decide the matter?


19/2/00 Chelmsford City (0) 0 Hastings Town (0) 0

Useful point - but gap widens

Att:- 522

A much better performance after that dismal effort against Folkestone - but that gap is now 13 points between us and the top two - AND we dropped to 5th after Ashford overtook us following their 1-0 win at Fleet. The top three all won - and we really are relying on them to cock up.

Picking up a point at Chelmsford - or Billericay where they ground share - was a point gained from a tough game. Town played plenty of decent football - especially in the second half when they dominated the 45 minutes but couldn’t get it right in the City box.

Paul Jones had a frustrating afternoon - the number of times that ball bobbled or he slipped - just one of those days. He had a good chance deflected for a corner early in the game as Town got into the proceedings following early City pressure. Simmo hit a good free kick from the edge of the box - but straight at the keeper.

Stuart Playford was outstanding in defence and pulled off two superb tackles - one in each half - when City looked certain to get through. Indeed, City had the two best chances - both coming from headers - one straight at Kess and the other against the cross bar. And what of that penalty appeal when Stuart Myall was brought down late in the first half? Be sure - that would have been awarded at the other end where Kess had a good game in front of the vociferous City supporters. .

Town were by far the better side in that second half. Yes, it’s frustrating we didn’t win the game - Paul Jones had a good opportunity seconds before the final whistle but couldn’t get any power behind his shot. If it had gone in, City wouldn’t have had time to restart

Steve Sands made his senior debut - replacing Shaun Loft - and very promising he looked out there on the right flank. Yes - BOTH sides would’ve been frustrated by this stalemate given the other results - but there’s loads of football to go yet


26/2/00 Hastings Town (0) 1 Fleet Town (0) 1

Promotion? Not likely.

McArthur 80

Att:- 277

As dismal as it gets - unable to beat the side that’s been bottom all season, that’s let in 41 goals away from home and has been cannon fodder for so many other sides. Who can tell what all the merger talk will bring when it comes to promotion - it’s quite likely that we wouldn’t be able to go up even if we did finish high enough - but that’s surely a moot point after this result.

And make no mistake - Fleet deserved their point - they played a lot of decent football, didn’t look anything like their league position suggests and ensured that Kess was the busier of the keepers. Not to say - that is - that Mark Russell in the Fleet goal didn’t have a good game - he pulled off three or four great saves.

Smudger thought he’d given us the lead with a quite outstanding effort - the paltry crowd enjoyed the goal hugely and then saw a linesman’s flag up for offside. Thanks, lino. Macca did get what we hoped was the crucial breakthrough - one of his bombs smacked against the post, rebounded nicely for him to plant the ball past the keeper - well taken goal.

That was 10 minutes from time - and we then went onto to repeat the Folkestone fiasco and conceded a late goal from a corner. Fleet enjoyed that - and they were well pleased to get their point.

I don’t know the other results - so what. We’ve surely blown out by chucking away 5 points from our last two home games. We HAD to win tonight...........



Yes - Meridian were at the game asking people what they thought about the merger - catch it at 6.00 pm Wednesday (Maybe they’ll show Smudger’s disallowed goal - WHO was offside?).

26/2/00 Hastings Town (1) 2 Spalding (3) 3



White 31, 65(p)

Att:- 351

This is as bad as it gets - surely. Two consecutive games at home to the 22nd and 21st placed sides have seen us pick up a single point - and we could be said to be lucky to have got that. It really was one of those days. Not even made it to behind the goal we were attacking and we were 0-1 down - poorly defended free kick - non existent marking - easy goal. Stuart Myall went close almost from the kick off and for a short while we looked as if we were going to play some decent football - but it didn't last long.

A poor game was livened up when Terry equalised with a free kick - but even Terry in scoring his 160th goal (Yes, whingers - 160 goals!) for Town in this his 445th appearance, will agree the Spalding keeper should've done better with what was a well placed effort but one that lacked power.

Any hopes that Spalding would fall apart as their away record suggested they might (W 1, D 1, L 11 goals 8-25) were soon dissipated as Town went 1-2 down on 43 minutes. Good work down Town's left saw a cross put emphatically past Kess - more non existent marking. As if that wasn't bad enough, referee Yerby then helped Spalding along with what looked like a poor decision to wave play on after a Spencer Mintram break forward was halted with a trip. Spalding broke away themselves as Spence got back to his feet and 1-2 had become 1-3 two minutes later.

Town continued to find it hard going in the second half. So frustrating - the ball wouldn't bounce right, players couldn't keep their feet, passes went astray - it was as if the team's co-ordination had gone.

Terry got his second on 65 minutes - remarkably his 12th spot kick of the season (would be 15 if he hadn't missed three!) after the Spalding right back handled. For 10 minutes or so, Town threatened to take the game over - Simmo should've done better when he broke into the box and Terry volleyed well over from just inside the box.

Appearances can be deceptive - and Town soon slipped back into that frustrating pattern - if it could even be called that. Yes - frustrating in that you knew, the players knew that they should've taken maximum points from two sides who they'd already seen off on their travels. Our promotion prospects have taken two hammer blows with these two recent results - count the Folkestone game and that's one lousy point from three home games.

Top three all won - surprise, surprise. Folkestone rubbed salt in a gaping wound by winning 5-0 at Fleet who gave us such a tough game last week. 16 points the gap now - can YOU see us getting back to the Premier Division next season?

What's the betting they play a blinder against Margate on Tuesday night?


29/2/00 Hastings Town (1) 3 Margate (1) 1 [DMC QF]


White 35, Myall 71, Yates 75

Att:- 245

"What's the betting they play a blinder against Margate on Tuesday night?" Hmm - spot on, the last sentence of the Spalding match report. Even allowing for the DM Cup that so few people hold close to their hearts - this was still an exceptional performance against a Margate side who are riding high in the Premier Division.

Yatesie's goal - already goal of the season by a mile. He went off on one of his runs on the edge of our box, kept going, kept going, slipped two, three tackles and from just inside the box blasted home Town's third past Lee Turner in the Margate goal. Absolutely out of this world and better than anything you'll see on the next Match of the Day, Goal of the Month competition.

Town put in a great performance against a good side who recently beat Boston, runaway leaders of the Premier Division. How, then, do you explain those two disastrous results against Fleet and Spalding that have done so much damage to our promotion hopes?

Yet, it started off so badly when, totally against the run of play, Margate broke away upfield and their No 10 fired home inside Kess's near post. Town didn't let that faze them and continued to play plenty of decent football and it was no surprise when Terry equalised on 35 minutes after a Mylo long throw caused havoc in the Margate box. Spencer went close with a long range effort just before half time.

The second half was all Town - they played some fine football and on a couple of occasions left the Margate defence all at sea. Simmo and Yatesie caused all sorts of trouble down the Margate left and how Town didn't take the lead when a Simmo cross flew across the area, who can tell. But Mylo did the business on 71 minutes - picked out well by Paul Jones, in space with time to emphatically plant the ball home. Then came THAT goal.........

And this was achieved without Duncan McArthur and Steve Smith. New signing Chris Honey came on for the last 10 minutes with the game won. An ex Town player making his first team debut a second time - Steve Ferguson put in a fine performance - but overall - this was a great team performance and the players' reactions when they came off said it all.

Roll on Havant in the semi final which - which surprise, surprise - will be played at The Pilot Field next Tuesday - so if you'd made arrangements to travel to The Isle of Wight - surprise, surprise - you'll have to cancel them again. Just how many times have the league games against Newport been postponed this season?

Well played boys - excellent - but you have to ask that question again - HOW did this same team play so badly against Spalding on Saturday? That's football for you. Infuriating, isn't it?