Dr Martens League Eastern Division 1999-00

Season 99/00

Reports 99/00

4/3/00 Ashford Town 2 (1) Hastings Town 1 (0)


Yates 88

Att:- 422

That's two points out of 15 and comfortably our worst sequence of league results this season - it's all gone utterly pear shaped and today's defeat sees us drop down to 6th behind Ashford and Chelmsford. The delightful - did I say delightful? - is that both Fisher and Folkestone lost today........

What a dreary game this was - where's the form gone that was displayed in last week's league cup quarter final against Margate? Neither side played well this afternoon - very few chanced were created at either end and a bumpy pitch didn't help matters. Town went close first - a Terry White free kick bring out a decent save from the Ashford keeper. Then panic stations in our box when a low cross flew through the 6 yard box with nobody able to get to it.

Against the run of play - Ashford went ahead when referee Tincknell decided Matt had been pushing in the box and awarded a penalty which Lee McRobert enjoyed putting away. Mylo had a chance within a couple of minutes of levelling but couldn't quite get on the end of a free kick.

Worst possible start to the second half - 49 minutes gone and we're 0-2 down. Winger broke down our left, put in a good cross and in went the second. Terry White and Danny Simmonds both had chances to get us back in the game with edge of the box opportunities but each time the ball flew over the bar. The longer it went on the worse it got and it seemed all too reminiscent of the Spalding shambles. Too many players having off days at the same time.

Typically of how the day went - Town actually played more football in the last 5 minutes after Yatesie had got us back into the game from close in. And our day was summed up when Stuart Playford blazed high over after being found unmarked on the far post - one of those crosses that left him undecided whether to head or volley - he tried the latter and it didn't come off with what was the best chance of the game.

All that can be said is that at least the gap at the top didn't widen - but 16 points is already too much with 14 games to go. Isn't it? Cup success hopefully awaits - starting on Tuesday with Havant?


Anti-Merger website set up

A couple of supporters from Hastings and St Leonards have united to form an anti-merger website.

It is understandable that some of the passionate fans are against the merger. However I for one will not look forward to seeing either (or both) of the clubs going bankrupt, rather than preserving their histories while they had the chance. There is enougth football will in the town to have a league team, but not until everyone is behind one team.


7/3/00 Hastings Town 4 (1) Havant & Waterlooville 2 (1) [DMC SF]


Simmonds 17, Myall 84, White 105, Yates 118

Att:- 339

Surprise, surprise, Town - after their luke warm display at Ashford on Saturday - turned on the form again, to overcome Premier Division Havant & Waterlooville in this DM Cup semi final. This was another exceptional display - easily as good as that against Margate - if not better.

Should really have been all over by half time - a complete travesty of the run of play that the sides went in at half time all square. Before Danny rifled home a poor clearance to put us 1-0 up, two glorious chances had already been missed. Terry should've done better with his 10th minute header and Danny's half strength effort was cleared off the line on 15. Terry planted one of his free kicks against the Havant crossbar on 33 minutes - and it was out of the blue when Havant levelled on 35 minutes. We should've been 4-0 up and the game won - our domination for that opening half hour or so was that complete.

Second half was much more even but Town were still competing on equal terms which made it all the more disappointing when what looked like a cross caught Kess out and it dropped in at his far post to send the noisy Havant support into ecstasy. That was on 65 minutes and a couple of minutes later Yatesie went down in the box after a challenge on the keeper - play was waved on. Terry missed another header on 75 minutes but Town kept going and matters were helped when the Havant 6 was deservedly sent off for a primitive foul on Paul Jones.

All square on 84 when the linesman was in position to Mylo's effort cross the line before being booted clear. Town dominated the rest of play but couldn't find a way through - so into extra time they went. That 30 minutes was all Hastings and right on half time there was Terry, outside the box- first time effort that dipped and swerved over the Havant keeper to put us 3-2 up. Terry had found the range and had several more efforts that were only just wide or over.

The defence coped well with Havant and that all important two goal cushion was provided on 118 minutes when the keeper couldn't prevent Yatesie's effort rebounding off him and over the line for a pretty soft conclusion to the evening's entertainment. This proved that you don't have to pay £25-35 to see a decent game of football - this was outstanding stuff. And our last 5 league games have produced two lousy points? You what?

Bring on Burton or Kings Lynn in the two legged final. Well played boys!


11/3/00 Hastings Town 2 (2) Raunds Town 1 (1)

Lean League run ends
Too little too late

White 31 (p), Yates 44

Att:- 324

The winless sequence of five league games ended at last - but the damage to Town’s promotion prospects had been done by those 13 dropped points. The win today was welcome but the top two won - AGAIN - and the gap remains 16 points.

What an awful game. Town completely unable to recreate their fine cup form of the last week were assisted on their way with the controversial sending off of the Raunds keeper on the half hour. This after Paul Jones went down after rounding the keeper. It has to be said contact was minimal - and while a penalty award was ok, the red card seemed particularly harsh because Jonesie would‘ve had to score from a very acute angle. But the referee was happy to accept the linesman’s view of events - out came the red card and in went Terry’s 12th -?- spot kick of 99/00.

Soon afterwards - a horrendous cock up between Stuart Playford and Tony Kessell let Raunds in for soft goal of the season. Raunds enjoyed the goal - everyone else just stood there - drop jawed.

Steve Yates restored Town’s lead on half time - on hand to head in Terry’s cross. Two headed goals in the same season, Yatesie?

The second half was a complete bore - Town never looked like adding to their lead while 10 man Raunds created the two decent chances of the half - Kess having to be at his best to cut out a cross and then grateful to see a well placed free kick just clear his cross bar on 85 minutes.

The three points were welcome, of course. But the damage had already been done like it says and cup success looks a far more realistic goal to aim for. Second semi final in a week next Wednesday - if Town can beat Horsham YMCA, a Sussex Senior Cup final against Brighton awaits. The gane’s at Lewes - kick off 7.30.

Merger Shambles

So - the only feasible way forward for football in Hastings looks to have come up against a dead end as a result of St Leonards not attending the last two meetings. Wasn’t it John Cornelius - St Leonards chairman - in a recent letter to the Observer, who commented about those who are "holding back football in Hastings" or words to that effect? Say no more.


Of all the positive correspondance that we have received about the merger I think that Anton sums up nicely the mood of those in favour:

"... I would like to voice my support for the merger - we need a bigger club in this area. We should try to put aside any differences between the clubs and support this wholeheartedly - it will be good for local football and the town in general."

It's a shame that the politics of ego's should get in the way of a good thing.


15/3/00 Hastings Town 2 (2) Horsham YMCA 0 (0) [SSCSF]

Town cruise through to Sussex Senior Cup Final

Playford 7, Yates 32

Att:- 280

Town negotiated this Senior Cup semi final pretty comfortably in a game that only really got going in the 80th minute after the YMCA keeper had been controversially sent off. Controversial? Yes - in my view it is controversial that keeper’s should be sent off - anyone sent off - with this over the top edict that if a guy’s through on goal, clear scoring opportunity etc, etc. Why players get red cards for such offences is beyond me - there are other rather more pressing needs........

So - to the game at Lewes’s Dripping Pan ground. All over by half time with Town comfortably in charge. Stuart Playford opened the scoring early on when he rifled home a half clearance after fine work on the bye line by Matt Ball. Steve Yates doubled the advantage on 32 minutes when he broke into the area and slotted home his 5th goal in as many games.

YMCA were never in the game and apart from a short spell in the second half when they hit Kess’s cross bar, never looked like threatening Town’s lead. Their task was made even more difficult with the dismissal of their keeper for a foul on Shaun Loft. The guy who took over in goal actually pulled off a very good block to keep out Terry’s 18th spot kick of the season and for a while the game actually spluttered into life.

Town held out with few problems and will meet Brighton in the Final at Langney Sports on May 1st - and will hopefully lay the ghosts of last year’s debacle at the hands of Worthing.


DM Cup Final

Town will play Premier Division Burton Albion over two legs after Albion beat Kings Lynn 2-0 in the other semi final. First leg at The Pilot Field on 4th April - second leg at Eton Park a fortnight later.

Merger Shambles - Part 2

This would be funny were it not for the implications for football in Hastings. After the failure of St Leonards to turn up to the last two meetings involving Town, the Council, local MP Michael Foster and them - the merger talks were declared dead in the water by exasperated Town co-owner, Mick Maplesden. Up to this point there’d been no comment from The Firs.

After Saturday’s game, it then transpired that it was all a big misunderstanding - fail to turn up TWICE? - and that St Leonards want negotiations to continue after all. Make of this what you will.

Is it on, is it not? How many amendment slips will I put in Ghost 25 that’s due out on April 27th when we play what could be our last local derby against St Leonards - or will it be our last local derby?

Confused? Excellent - that makes two of us. Watch this space!



This fixture will now take place next Sunday, March 26th (Unbelievably, with our fixture backlog, we have no game next Saturday). A coach for supporters will run if there is sufficient interest - fare approx £18 which, of course, includes the ferry crossing. If interested, please call Tony Cosens at the club office Monday morning onwards on 444635.

18/3/00 Corby Town 1 (1) Hastings Town 2 (1)

Three more points
On the road

Myall 12,50

Att:- 115

Town moved back up to 4th spot after this hard fought encounter at rockingham triangle against a Corby side that had been doing well of late. Rockingham triangle is one of those places where you’re cut off from the action by the bane of all football spectators - a running track.

Town made a poor start and found themselves 0-1 adrift after just 8 minutes - a break down the right saw the ball break kindly in the town box and despite Kess getting a hand to the ball he couldn’t keep it out.

But the boys shrugged that setback off and within 4 minutes were level when Stuart Myall cut inside and fired home the equaliser which squirmed under the body of the corby keeper. The rest of the half was pretty even and 1-1 at half time was a fair reflection of the game so far.

A good second half performance won the game for Town - they created more chances while looking pretty comfortable at the back. Mylie got his and Town’s second on 50 minutes when he was set up by Paul Jones who had another of those industrious afternoons he’s become well known for. Paul set the ball up nicely for Stuart who’s shot went in off the post.

A small crowd perhaps - but a vociferous one with the home supporters not overly pleased with the refereeing - and they might’ve had a point when Steve Yates looked fortunate not to concede a penalty. At the other end, Yatesie should’ve extended his scoring sequence to 6 games but failed in a one on one with the keeper after being set up by sub, Chris Honey who did some fine work in the half hour he was on.

Three points - up to 4th after Ashford went down at Fisher. Folkestone could only draw at Raunds so that formidable gap is a little smaller - a mere 14 points between us and the top two. You never know in football..........


26/3/00 Newport IoW 2 (1) Hastings Town 1 (1)


McArthur 25

Att:- 315

Town’s promotion prospects had already taken a fearful bashing before this game - but if Newport are themselves successful in getting one of the top two places, they’ll look back at this game and thank their lucky stars - and the referee who’s performance was as anonymous as he was - " Not known at time of going to print" according to the programme.

Town went a goal down after 11 minutes when a penalty was awarded for pushing . Spencer Mintram was injured in the lead up to that decision and went off with a hamstring problem shortly afterwards. Steve Leigh, who converted the penalty, was hugely fortunate to still be on the pitch after two bad fouls in the early stages - how the referee saw fit to caution him just the once was beyond the Town supporters - but worse was to follow.

Despite the early set back, Town got on with it and deservedly levelled on 25 minutes when Terry’s flick on from a corner was half cleared only for Duncan McArthur to fire home from just inside the box. Paul Jones had another fine game and one outstanding piece of work down the right saw him put in a cross that flashed across the 6 yard box with nobody on hand to put it away. Chris Tardif in the Newport goal then pulled off a one handed save to deny Matt Ball as Town dominated the game. Tony Kessell in the Town goal had very little to do - but what he did have to do - was done exceedingly well when he denied Newport late in the half when confronted with a one on one after Town’s defence had momentarily gone to sleep. Even in the short time to the interval, Town still created another opportunity when Duncan went close with a well placed chip. 1-1 at half time - and that score line was no reflection of Town’s superiority.

The second half was a stalemate and the game looked a certain draw - but Town were still the better side. Then, the referee played his trump card. In the 67th minute, Matt Ball put the ball out of play and then the Newport 11 went down in a heap. The referee hadn’t seen anything - but the linesman flagged animatedly and after a consultation, a disgusted Matt was shown a red card for, what I was told after the game, was deemed violent conduct (three game ban). I was a long way from the incident - but the reaction of the Town players - and Dean White - was one of total outrage at the decision to send Matt off. To rub salt in the wound - Betteridge, the Newport 11 who was involved in the incident - was himself lucky to still be on the pitch after a stone age foul early in the half on Steve Yates - which the referee deemed only worthy of a yellow card.

Not long after the Ball sending off - Paul Jones was awarded a free kick when he was pulled back - but that had happened inside the box - if we could all see it - why couldn’t the referee? His performance plumbed the depths soon after that when the Newport defence put the ball out for a corner by at least a yard - but after the ball had been hoofed away by the left back, the referee awarded Town a throw in! Then the left back berated the referee for not getting Danny Simmonds to hurry up with the throw in!

Despite the disadvantage of no Matt in defence (Stuart Playford was already out suspended) - Town coped well with what Newport threw at them - until deep into injury time when their second worth while move of the game saw a cross well converted with a header that looped over Kess’s despairing dive. Huge celebrations followed - as for us - well, we just looked at each other slack jawed.

Previous match reports on this website will give honest appraisals of Town’s performances - if they’ve played poorly - that’s what the report will say. But on this occasion - the better side lost a game that was utterly dominated by some appalling officiating - and plain bad luck.




MORE TO FOLLOW............. WE HOPE.

28/3/00 Folkestone Invicta 3 (1) Hastings Town 0 (0)

Toothless Town well beaten

Att:- 524

What a frustrating evening. Town never got going and didn’t reproduce anything like the form they’d shown on the Sunday at Newport. Frustrating on two counts - because Folkestone were nothing special.

But 0-3 speaks for itself. 0-1 after just 5 minutes when Town sloppy defence of a free kick saw the ball slip under Kess to gift Folkestone an early lead on an appalling evening so far as the weather was concerned. As the first half went on - Town got much more into the game but just couldn’t find any form in the opposing box where the Folkestone keeper had far too little to do. Folkestone were nearly gifted another goal when a Smudger Smith clearance spun across the area before being hacked away at the last minute.

There were occasions when the refereeing brought back memories of the Newport fiasco - Chris Honey and Smudger were booked in a five minute spell where the referee completely lost the plot. Chris was shown a yellow card for a tackle from behind which resulted in a dive so theatrical that it seemed utterly bizzare that the referee should be taken in by it. Then Smudger - for what the referee deemed deliberate handball - this after the ball flew up off a wet, slippery surface and - if anything - seemed to hit Smudger on the shoulder. Yet - an unbelievable piece of foul play in the second half which saw the Folkestone 5 planting his boot in the face of grounded Steve Yates didn’t even warrant a talking to. How the people who run the game expect referees to command respect while coming up with performances such as we have seen this last two games, is beyond me.

As to the football in the second half - Town continued to have most of the play but couldn’t do the business in front of goal. Terry blasted over the bar when a bad clearance landed invitingly in front of him - Paul Jones continued to work hard but still cannot score (one goal since November) and Chris Honey also put in a lot of effort - but that ball wouldn’t run for Town. 0-2 on 66 minutes - good cross from the left and in it went at Kess’s far post. Just after Stuart Myall saw a good long range effort test the Folkestone keeper, it was 0-3 after the ball broke nicely in the Town box and it was buried from close in.

You can’t argue with a three goal beating - but what a frustrating evening. You know the players we’ve got are capable of much, much more - they have nothing to prove - they’ve done it at Premier Division level - they’ve just seen off two Premier Division outfits to reach the final of the League Cup - yet we’ve now lost 9 games in this Eastern Division and if we’re lucky, will finish 5th. And - I don’t know about you - but I keep going back to the DM League’s decision to relegate us to this division when a display of flexiblity and understanding would’ve seen us retain our place at the higher level which took so many years to get and keep.

How many more years will it take to get back?