Lewes head down the A27 tomorrow for the local derby with Hastings United. It will be much the same in terms of the squad that Darren can call upon, with James Hammond still suspended. Frankie Chappell came through the DS game on Thursday night and could have his first appearance in the match day squad since joining from Folkestone Invicta in the Summer.
How was last season?
Once again Hastings will look back on a season of what might have
been. After the last day heartache of
missing out on the play-offs in 2015/16, last season they managed to reach the
end of season knock-out matches having finished the season in 5th
place, scoring goals for fun (their total of 128 in the league was the highest
in all three Isthmian divisions).
Unfortunately, they lost at Dorking Wanderers on penalties after a 1-1
draw. The season ended on a surprising
note with manager Darren Hare leaving, being replaced by former Worthing boss
Adam Hinshelwood, with former Rook Lee Carey coming in as player/coach. With one of the bigger budgets in the
division it is no surprise that they have already started building a strong
squad including recruiting former Rooks Billy Medlock and Jack Dixon.
Isthmian League South Division – 5th – P 46 W 23 D 13 L 10 GS 128 GA 64 GD +64 PTS 82
FA Cup – 3rd Qualifying Round – lost
at home to Margate 2-1 in a replay
FA Trophy – 2nd Qualifying Round – lost away at
South Park 3-2 in a replay
Sussex Senior Cup – Second Round – Lost at home
to Three Bridges 4-1
Isthmian League Cup – Second Round – Lost away
to Faversham Town on pens after 1-1 draw
When did we last meet
There was certainly no shortage of action in the two games between the
sides last season. Hastings won the big
Boxing Day derby in front of a season-high attendance of 702 with ease, making
the most of an early Jack Dixon red card to win 3-0. In the final home game of the season, with
Lewes needing a win to keep alive their slim play-off hopes, the two sides
shared eight goals in a thrilling encounter.
Hastings took the lead through Shomari Barnwell’s header only for Jonte
Smith to equalise a few minutes later.
Jack Dixon then hit one of his spectacular efforts from distance to give
Lewes the lead only for Barnwell to score his second just after the half-hour
mark. Five minutes before the break Alex
Malins headed the Rooks back into the lead, whilst at the other end former Rook
Ollie Rowe had an effort ruled out through offside.
On the hour Hastings drew level again when Hughes-Mason
ghosted into the area and slotted home, but Lewes when up the other end and
scored a fourth through a rare Jack Dixon header. But with ten minutes
remaining Rowe finally got his goal to give Hastings a share of the points and
guarantee their place in the play-offs.
About The Pilot Field
The words “proper Non-League ground” couldn’t be more apt for the ground
which is still very popular amongst stadium enthusiasts (aka “groundhoppers”)
for the dirt track that surrounds the pitch and its old fashioned grandstand.
The main stand itself can hold up to 800 spectators, the majority of which are
seated on wooden benches. Opposite the main stand is a large grass bank, which
at point spectators could have used as a vantage point, however this is now
fenced off due to health and safety. Located under the stand are the changing
rooms and board room (formally the club bar).
There is covered terracing behind both goals, the more
modern ‘Cole Warren Stand’ being constructed during the 2005/06 season at the
opposite end, there is a large covered terrace that had been erect during
Hastings United time at the ground between 1948 and 1985. In one corner of the
ground next to the ‘Elphinstone Road end’ terrace are the main turnstiles, club
bar, toilet facilities and club shop.
Due to the increasing ground maintenance cost and ageing
main stand, former club chairman Dave Walters expressed his interest in working
with the council to build a new stadium as part of a new sports complex, which
would involve selling off The Pilot Field and the neighbouring Firs football
ground, currently lying derelict.
How to get to The Pilot Field
For those heading from the north on
the A21, pass Sainsbury’s on your right, go straight ahead at two mini
roundabouts and turn left at the third onto the A2101 St Helens Road (The Pilot
Field is signposted at this point). After approximately a mile and a quarter,
take the fifth turning on the left into St Helens Park Road, which leads into
Downs Road. At the end of this road, turn left and the ground is situated
immediately on your right.
From the general direction of Lewes, head west on the A27
then the A259. Proceed along Bexhill
Road, turning left at a set of traffic lights onto the B2092 Harley Shute Road.
Go straight ahead at a mini roundabout continue straight ahead at the main
roundabout that follows (signposted Hollington) into Ironlatch Avenue, which
leads into Blackman Avenue. Follow this road through two sets of traffic
lights, continuing straight ahead at the crossroads into Ashbrook Road, which
leads into Old Harrow Road. At the end of the road turn right at the mini
roundabout, and then turn left at the next onto the A2101 St Helens Road (The
Pilot Field is signposted at this point). After approximately a mile and a
quarter, take the fifth turning on the left into St Helens Park Road, which
leads into Downs Road. At the end of the road, turn left and the ground is
situated immediately on your right.
Please note that there is no spectator parking available
within the ground itself, but there are plenty of roads within close walking
distance that have no parking restrictions such as on Ochiltree Road (first
right after passing the ground on your right). It should take around 45 minutes
to do the 32-mile journey.
If you are coming by train, then for once you don’t need to
head towards London. Instead catch a
direct train from Lewes, journey time around 50 minutes. There is a one minute journey time if you get
a train that requires a change at Hampden Park.
An Off-Peak Day Return is currently £11.30. It’s a fair distance uphill from the station
so Bus 21 or 21B may be the better option.
Ore is the nearest station if you are walking – allow about 20
minutes. Head down Beaconsfield Road to
the roundabout and the turn right into Elphinstone Road and start to walk
uphill. You will see the ground
eventually on your right-hand side.
Admission at The
Admission this season is £10 for adults, £6 for concessions (senior
citizens, students), and accompanied under 18s are admitted free of charge.
Fancy a beer?
There are some good pubs in Hastings with one of the best being the Anchor
in George Street, whilst The Dolphin in the Old Town is also highly rated. The Telegraph rates The Crown in All Saints
Street as one of the best pubs in the country.
The Clown in Russel Street is worth a half at least whilst the Cutter in
East Parade offers no nonsense food and drink.