Archive

Dr Martens League Eastern Division 1999-00

Season 99/00

Reports 99/00

1/5/00 Brighton & Hove res 1 (0) Hastings Town 1 (1) [Sx Cup Final]

Brighton win 4-3 on penalties after extra time

"MAGNIFICENT HASTINGS"

Sussex Senior Cup Final @ Langney Sports

Ball 28

Helmsey 62

Att:- 1355

And thatís what Micky Adams, the Albion manager called them. Hereís what he said in Tuesdayís Argus:-

"Hastings were magnificent, a better side, a credit to their league and their manager"

Town more than held their own in a two hour slugging match that kept the 1355 gate enthralled through out. Albion had always stated their intent to win this competition and fielded a strong side with a wealth of Nationwide experience while Town had to make further adjustments when Paul Jones and Paul Hobbs were unable to play through injury - that in addition to the loss through suspension of Stuart Playford.

The side just got on with it and once again proved it is more than capable of mixing it with better teams - and showed up again the sheer injustice of having wasted a season in the DM Eastern Division following that rule book relegation last season. It was hard work initially against an Albion side that was quicker on the break than anything weíve seen this season but it was Town that went close as early as the 2nd minute when a good cross from Simmo was only just put wide by Chris Honey. A minute later Albion had a goal disallowed for offside and on 17 minutes, Spencer Mintram hacked off the line when Rod Thomas looked certain to score.

Town started to show they were capable of playing decent football themselves as they adjusted to what Albion were coming up with. And a thoroughly deserved lead they took on 28 minutes when Matt Ball finished off from close in with the help of a big deflection after a Stuart Myall throw in had caused chaos in the box. And it was so close to 2-0 on half time when an almighty scramble saw the ball cleared off the Albion line with Steve Yates only just denied.

On a hot afternoon, Town continued to play some fine football in the second half and Mark Ormerod in the Albion goal was kept busy. Duncan McArthur - out to prove a point or two - was outstanding and brought out a good save from Ormerod while other chances fell to Stuart Myall and Terry White while Chris Honey worked his socks off all afternoon..

Town had to make further adjustments when Duncan went off injured in the last minute which saw Shaun Loft come on as the game went into extra time. Terry had the chance of that period when he rounded Ormerod but from a tight angle fired into the side netting.

So, 1-1 and penalties to decide it. I shanít say who scored their penalties and who didnít - because itís meaningless. Penalties was no way to settle this and all those who who sweated gallons for 120 minutes were heroes on the afternoon. The statistics will show Albion won 4-3 but Micky Adams said it all.

Final special mention for Tommy Osborne - not always sure of a place in the side, he was first class through out in the centre of defence. If I had to select a Man of the Match, itíd be you, Tommy. But well played the lot of you - weíre proud of you.

SS

3/5/00 Hastings Town 2 (1) Witney Town 1 (0)

Top 6 spot guaranteed

White 40, Ball 58

Att:- 211

Town finished their home programme with a more comfortable win than the 2-1 margin suggests. Witney didnít turn up till gone 7.30, had no substitutes and their keeper played outfield. Other than that they were at full strength......

Town were on top for much of the game even though they were hardly at full strength themselves. No Kess, Smudger Smith, Tommy Osborne or Paul Jones - but Stuart Playford was back after three games out suspended.

Prior to the game, the Player of the Season awards went to Matt Ball with Steve Yates just behind in 2nd place. Well done Matt - my choice as well. Whether you like playing at centre half or not - and I know you donít - youíve had a superb season there.

Most of the first half action was at the Witney end where Simmo went close with a header. Spence put over a great cross that was just too high for Shaun Loft and Chris Honey was inches away from his first goal for Town when he broke down the middle only to see his effort go just the wrong side of the post. Deadlock was broken on 40 minutes - good work down the left by Yatesie left Terry with the easiest goal heís got this season - number 32.

Witney surprised everyone - including themselves - when they pulled level on 56 minutes. A deep cross from the left was half volleyed in, not cleared and the rebound was emphatically buried. Not that they enjoyed being on terms for long. Two minutes later, Yatesie combined well with Matt who put his effort away just inside the far post.

Town remained well on top for the rest of the game and won it at a canter. We remain 6th and that is probably where we will stay unless Ashford take a hammering on Saturday and we inflict one at Witney who we encounter for the second time in under 72 hours.

SS

6/5/00 Witney Town 0 (0) Hastings Town 2 (1)

Town finish with flourish

Playford 35, P.Jones 65

Att:- 100ish

Town finished off an eventful season with a comfortable win at Marriotts Stadium against a Witney side theyíd already beaten at home less than 72 hours earlier. Witney were back to something like full strength and dominated the opening 15 minutes but once Town had sorted themselves out, they were the better side and good value for a win that saw them finish 5th after Ashford went down 1-3 at Spalding.

1-0 up after 35 minutes when Stuart Playford emphatically headed home Danny Simmondsís free kick. Town really should have added to their lead in the 10 minutes to half time but went in just 1-0 up.

Er, sorry - match report interrupted @ 20.00 hours for a visit to The Smugglers at Pett Level................

Town completely in charge throughout the second half - Witney never really got a look in and couldnít really complain when they found themselves 0-2 down on 65 minutes when a fine pass from Danny Simmonds set Paul Jones free and in a one on one with Kevin Alder in the Witney goal, Jonesie came out on top. Paul had a great second half and caused the home defence all sorts of problems and his goal was the least he deserved.

Town always seem to finish off a season well - and 99/00 is no exception. Frustrating that we didnít feature in the promotion race as much as we should have done - but Fisher and Folkestone have finished so far ahead of everyone else, that itís all academic.

Now the hard work starts - Dean White has to start building a team for next season - virtually all the current squadís contracts expire about now and thereís a lot of negotiating to do. Premier Division football was taken away from us by the DM League and itís obsession with itís rule book - we MUST get it back! But it has to be the hard way.

SS

The league table is all up to date with the final positions.

Simonís final ramblings of 1999/2000

So, thatís just about the end of yet another season here at The Pilot Field and what a topsy turvy 12 months weíve just been through. I recall as if it was yesterday - going to a committee meeting one evening back in June - thinking what a complete waste of time it all was. The efforts of those attempting to get Hastings Town out of the clutches of Administration were being thwarted time and time again by a person, or persons, unknown and the Administrator had accepted what was apparently the final bid from that quarter. The club seemed to be doomed - whoever this person was - had no friendly intentions and the DM League had been contacted by people representing St Leonards FC to say there would only be the one club in the town at the start of 99/00.

LAST MINUTE RESCUE

Yet, on the very night of that meeting, it was all happening behind the scenes, the person or persons trying to outbid the Town consortium had withdrawn from the contest by late that night and the future of Hastings Town was on the verge of being secured. There were to be more developments before things were wrapped up, last minute financial demands by the ex owner a matter of a fortnight before the start of the seaon could easily have derailed everything - but that obstacle was overcome - and you know the rest.

FULL CIRCLE

How things have turned around in such a short time. St Leonards FC - widely thought to have had some kind of involvement in, or knowledge of, last Summerís events have endured an appalling season in which they have considered amongst other options, closing down or seeking a drop to the Unijet League. How hugely ironic that, a matter of a year after someone in this town had something like £75,000 to outbid the consortium trying to save Hastings Town FC, St Leonards FC who would have ended up the sole club in town, have had to make big cuts into an already small playing budget. Isnít it sad for football in general, that that kind of money was available to basically destroy one club in Hastings, but is now not available to provide much needed funds for the other one. And still - that person or persons - have never come forward to put their motives in the public domain.

RULES AND REGULATIONS

So, we ended up being deposited in the Eastern Division after 7 eventful years of Premier Division football. At least, this season, weíve been spared that agonizing look at the league table on a Sunday morning which, on more occasions than we liked, would see us hovering a little too close to the wrong end of the table. But, the DM Leagueís decision to relegate us, demeaned all that hard work by the likes of the late Peter Sillett, Dean White and Garry Wilson to gain, and then, retain that hard won Premier status. And I know what Iíd have preferred this season - another battle in the Premier Division or the top six comfort zone of the Eastern Division - well, what do you think?

As Iíve stated in the past, rule books have a vital part to play in all aspects of life - but those regulations can and should be tempered with a degree of flexibility and understanding - virtues that were completely absent at DM HQ where no consideration was ever made of the circumstances behind that letter resigning Hastings Town from the League at the end of 1998.

Was the irony of the situation ever apparent to those who administer this league - sending the club a Premier Division 5th place prize money cheque at the end of 98/99 - closely followed by an Eastern Division fixtures list for 99/00? Perhaps they saved themselves some postage and put both in the same envelope. I will always feel very bitter about the way it was all done.

THANKYOU

To Messrs Maplesden, Britton and Pilbeam without whoís efforts and money we wouldnít have had a club to follow this season. The same goes for all on the management committee. And to Dean and Jack who by the examples they set - sticking it out when they could have jumped ship - instilled that remarkable team spirit which kept it altogether on the pitch. That team we finished 98/99 with could so easily have broken up, they could have all found new clubs, but nearly all of them came back.

And you 350 odd who loyally traipse up or down Elphinstone Road on match days - I take my hats off to you all. And those crazy enough to dedicate half a weekend at a time to following the boys on their travels around the Eastern Division - er, see you at Witney Part II on Saturday.

Simon Carey at The Observer - Iíve always been the first to moan about what I thought was inadequate match coverage - but The Observer has been superb this season and overall things are far better than they were when the legendary Peter Lindsey was in charge. The Observer has been the business this season - especially with itís coverage of last Summerís goings on and the Councilís, now scrapped, proposals to build houses here.

Karl Horton - who set up the unofficial Town Website. A lot of work goes into that - and he has to fit it all in with his teaching job. Karl answered my scream for PC help in a programme last season and things have certainly come on well since. Weíll be looking at ways to improve the Site in the close season.

Hmmm - mustnít forget the team - after all, thatís what we come here to watch, isnít it? Fingers tightly crossed that theyíll all be back next season.

Tereza Nezhybova. Who? Oh yes, Tereza, my long suffering au-pair who has endured Tom and Bec on away days while Iíve been traipsing around following the team. It must be infectious - sheís ended up going to a succession of home games AND has been to the Isle of Wight, Ashford and Folkestone - enduring Tom, Bec - and me. You never know - a Czech Republic based HTFC supporterís association could be in the making here.

FOOTBALL IN HASTINGS - NOW WHAT?

So, St Leonards have - once again - turned down the idea of merging and will soldier on as they are. I have no idea what, if anything, is happening behind the scenes, but I just hope that the Council remembers that it was not for lack of trying on Townís part that the merger fell through.

We now have Horntye Park open with itís superb facilities - £4.5 millionís worth. The contrast between that and the 1940ís vintage Pilot Field couldnít be greater. There is massive potential to create a football stadium here with everything - decent spectating facilities, all weather training area, car parking, itís massive in so many ways - and still it lies dormant. We need the Council on our side and now that the huge gulf between whatís on offer at Horntye Park and what you get here is apparent - is surely the time for things to start happening.

PROGRAMME - WEBSITE ETC ETC

The close season will be used to good effect and all being well, the 00/01 programme will be an improved version of what youíre looking at now. I must admit that right now - after four home games in just over a week - I would kill never to look at a programme again - but have no fear, the enthusiasm will return!

The official Website - right now I think itís grossly under utilised - and thatíll be something else to look at over the next few months. The Internet is a unique way of communicating - Dave Moore tells me people log in to the official site from as far away as Japan - and Karl Horton who looks after the unofficial site has had people tapping in from Tasmania.

A substantial part of these notes will be on both Websites - and it could well be a regular feature of next season that programme notes - in part at least - go on the Websites. Perhaps, anyone reading these notes on their PC might like to contact us and let us know what YOU think?

NEXT SEASON

I desperately want us to regain our Premier Division place - letís keep fingers crossed that all the pieces of that jigsaw that forms a succesful promotion campaign, fall into place.

Have a good summer and letís see how good the English cricket team REALLY is at throwing games. Odd that - I didnít think they had anything to prove when it came to losing Test matches.... If they do get paid to chuck games, they must be billionaires..

See you in July.

SS.

TA SIMON

Of course I must thank Simon for his contributions to this site, the official site, the programme, the fanzine and arrow fm. Who knows how many words he has penned in Ghost towers this season... Where we would be without you? Thanks again to all those behind the scenes without who there would be no club. And to Deano and his white army.

And thanks to all of you who look at the site, I'm still surprised how many people 'hit' us every week. Keep your eyes open in the close season....

KH