Hastings United v Cray Wanderers – Isthmian Premier – Monday, 28th August. 3 pm
Cray Wanderers play their second away game of the Bank Holiday Weekend on Monday as the Wands head to Hastings United. Kick off, 3 pm.
Cray will be looking to get the season going after defeat at Enfield Town on Saturday meant the Wands have lost the first four games of a season for the first time since the 1999-2000 season.
There were encouraging signs especially during the first half at Enfield where Cray looked to be playing their best football of the season despite the adverse conditions and came close to scoring through Anthony Cook and Frankie Raymond. Unfortunately, Enfield took advantage of a couple of slip ups at the back during and scored twice and despite chances for Cameron Black and Rio Campbell near the end Cray couldn’t find the goal to perhaps give the game a more realistic look over the game.
Before the game, Cray signed left-back/midfielder Will Wood on a two month loan from Welling United and were missing George Porter for the trip to Enfield Town. With two games in forty-eight hours the Wands will hope not to pick up too many injuries and that the goals start to flow.
However, Monday looks set to be another tough task as Hastings United have begun the season efficiently and are unbeaten after four games in 8th with 8 points. Hastings began the season with draws at home to Cheshunt (1-1) and then 0-0 at Whitehawk but since then won 2-1 at Dulwich Hamlet on 19th August and then were 3-0 winners at home to Concord Rangers on Saturday with goals from Femi Akinwande and two Davide Rodari goals.
Hastings had a very satisfactory first season back in the Isthmian Premier last season following promotion from the Isthmian South-East and were hard to beat and finished 8th, just three points outside the playoffs. Hastings won both encounters 1-0 against the Wands last season, winning at Hayes Lane in a tight game in October and again at Hastings in February 2023 with Ben Pope scoring the winners in both matches.
There is always a good buzz about games down at Hastings and this should be a good competitive game despite the differing early season form of both teams.
DIRECTIONS TO HASTINGS UNITED FC.
Address: Hastings United FC. The Pilot Field, Elphinstone Road, Hastings, East Sussex TN34 2AX
Admission Prices: £12.00 adults, £8.00 concessions, U18s free (accompanied by adult)
By Car – From our neck of the woods best to go via the A21.
From Orpington take the Hewitts Roundabout and take the 2nd exit onto A21/M25 heading to Sevenoaks/A21 for 0.9 miles. At the roundabout take the 2nd exit onto the M25 slip road to M23/M4/M3/Gatwick Airport/Heathrow Airport/Hastings/Sevenoaks A21 for 0.3 miles. Keep right and merge onto A21/M25 for 4 miles and then continue onto the A21 for 11.8 miles. Continue onto Hastings Road/Pembury Bypass/A21 for 4.1 miles.
At Kippings Cross roundabout take the 2nd exit onto A21 and follow for 3.1 miles and then at Forstal Farm roundabout take the 2nd exit onto Lamberhurst Bypass/A21. After 1.5 miles at the roundabout take the 2nd exit onto A21 for 8.5 miles. At Northbridge Street roundabout take the 2nd exit onto Robertsbridge Bypass/A21 for 2.1 miles and then at John’s Cross roundabout take the 1st exit onto Vinehall Road/A21 for 5.9 miles. You should then be approaching Hastings. Take a slight right onto Maplehurst Road for 0.2 miles and then turn left onto the Ridge/A2101 and at the roundabout take the 1st exit onto the Ridge/B2093 for half a mile. At the roundabout take the 2nd exit to remain on the Ridge/B2093 for 1.2 miles and then turn right into Elphinstone Road and take a left for the ground.
Alternatively as you reach the northern outskirts of the town you will see a sign “Hastings & St Leonards, birthplace of television” on your left having passed Sainsburys 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 East on the A259 – Turn right at the traffic lights just past the Aldi supermarket onto the B2093 Old London Road, which leads into The Ridge. After approximately one mile, turn left opposite the main entrance to Hastings Crematorium into Elphinstone Road and the ground is situated down the hill on the left hand side, the second of two adjacent pitches.
Parking – 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. Please be sure to park legally though, as traffic wardens are known to patrol the area on matchdays.
By Public Transport – Bus Routes 21 and 21A from Stand A at Hastings Rail Station.
It is a fairly long walk from Hastings station, around 1.4 miles so leave yourself plenty of time if you choose this option. From Station approach, turn left onto Devonshire Road and then after 0.1 miles turn left onto South Terrace and then right into Braybrooke Road. For 0.2 miles continue to Bethune Way and then at the Queens Road Roundabout take the second exit onto Elphinstone Road, go over one more roundabout and Pilot Field should be on the right after about a mile and uphill.
You can also get there from Ore station (technically nearer) and is about 20 minutes away. Head down Beaconsfield Road to the roundabout and turn right into Elphinstone Road as above.
If you are going by train to Hastings and thinking of going from Orpington, on Bank Holiday Monday there are no direct trains going to Hastings that day. You will need to make changes of journeys at Sevenoaks and then Tonbridge to complete the journey
If you wish to go to Ore from Orpington again you would need changes of journeys to Sevenoaks, then a train to St Leonards Warrior Square and then another to Ore and for the return.
You can get there from London Bridge direct with trains at 24 & 51 past the hour taking 1 hour 59 minutes or an hourly service at 57 but will take twenty minutes longer. Returns at 17 or 47 past the hour.
There are no direct trains from Victoria. You would need to get the tube to St Pancras International, catch a train to Ashford International and then on to Hastings and would take you quite a while.
For train travel best to check National Rail Enquiries
Hastings is a place steeped in history and in particular the approach to Hastings and the town especially the old town which has many pubs and bars and eateries that must surely satisfy even the most hardest to please of people. The Dolphin Inn in the Old town (Rock-a-Nore Road) is highly recommended as is the Anchor in George Street. In All Saints Street is the Crown which is considered to be one of the best pubs in the country. Since our last visit in March 2019 there has been a new addition with the Seadog on Station Road. Please remember this is a Bank Holiday Monday and Hastings will be very busy you would imagine especially if the weather is grand.
If you plan on staying the night the Carlisle in Pelham Street is well renowned as a live music venue particularly specialising in punk, rock and heavy metal music and traditionally a must for motorbike enthusiasts. There is also the Clown in Russell Street (close to Hastings or Ore Station). There is at the ground, the Elphinstone Social Club if you prefer something quieter. There are just too many chippies to recommend although the LifeBoat Restaurant in the Parade is 4.5 star rated as is Maggie’s Fish Bar in Fishmarket Road.
Hastings is famous around the world for the Battle of Hastings of 1066 following William the Conqueror and his Norman army invading England and leading to a bloody battle in which King Harold was killed by Willam’s army. Since those days the town has really thrived as a historical location, it was one of the Cinque ports strategically placed to prevent invasions and later as a very large fishing port.
Aside from the world famous beach there is an aquarium but that is a bit of a hike from the football ground and there are legendary remains of Hastings Castle with its links to 1066.