George Gaskin HERO

Gaskin backing his side against the odds

Littlehampton Town vs. Hastings United

The second semi-final of the Sussex Transport Senior Cup is set to be played on Tuesday 12 March 2024 between Littlehampton Town and Hastings United.

Littlehampton Town vs. Hastings United
Sussex Transport Senior Cup Semi-Final
Date: Tuesday 12 March 2024
Kick-off: 7:30pm
Venue: Sussex County FA, Culver Road, Lancing, West Sussex, BN15 9AX

It's been a Sussex Transport Senior Cup run to remember for George Gaskin’s Littlehampton Town, as his side made history by knocking out last season’s winners, Worthing, in the Third Round, following a dramatic penalty shootout.

Indeed, the feat is made even more remarkable by the fact that many of players that Gaskin credits with his side's good form this season were Worthing loanees, and thus unable to feature in the game.

“We’ve been really lucky to have some of the most talented young players in Sussex play for us this season, thanks to Worthing and then manager, Adam Hinshelwood,” said Gaskin, “but without them in the game against their parent club, we had to adjust our tactics somewhat.

“It was very much a game where we knew we’d have to really dig in and defend our goal as best we could, and then just look to make the most of any chances that came our way.

“Thankfully we were able to do just that, and personally, I felt that was one of our best performances and wins, even taking into account our day out at Wembley the other year.”

Yet the Marigolds weren’t done yet, proceeding to then knock out last year's runners up, Bognor Regis Town, 6-1 in the Quarter-Finals.

“That was an interesting game, and we definitely didn’t expect that result, considering that at the time they were unbeaten in their last 15 games,” said Gaskin.

“But whereas with Worthing, we knew we’d need to defend deep and hit when we could, we went for a more aggressive man-to-man approach against Bognor, and backed ourselves, and in the end played really well and earnt the win.”

Of course, it should be pointed out at this point that Gaskin isn’t alone in the dugout, having shared the duties with fellow coach Mitchell Hand since the start of last season.

“I remember it was the season we’d just come up, and we played Peacehaven a few months into the season, and got well and truly beaten that day,” said Gaskin, “and we both played that day, and it just wasn’t right, and knew that we needed at least one of us to be in the dugout.

“That season I really hit a good stretch of form though upfront and was scoring a lot of goals for us, so for a while it was Mitch on the sidelines, which I know was a lot for him at the start, but we kept getting the results and with the success we’ve had the club is now in a great place.”

The joint manager relationship is of course a rare one the higher you go up the pyramid, so what’s the secret for it working so well for Gaskin and Hand?

“Obviously it helps that we’re really good mates and had been for a long time before we took this job on together,” said Gaskin, “but of course, there have been times where that’s been tested by one thing or another.

“But the fact that we’ve been so successful together, especially considering the standard of our league, shows that we’ve managed to get that balance right.”

Away from the cup run, it’s been a challenging season for Marigolds, with the side currently sitting in 16th in the Isthmian Football League South East.

“It’s been a season of two halves for us that’s for sure,” said Gaskin, “post-Christmas we’ve been really good, but prior to that we had to look at ourselves to see how we could be better for the team, because we were way off where we wanted to be.

“There was a lot of talk about ‘second season syndrome’ with various players having come and gone, but the main thing for us was just pushing on after the festive season and looking to start to build some form, so then build that confidence in the team.”

For Gaskin, it’s that confidence and team spirit that he sees as being the key difference, come next week’s Semi-Final clash against Hastings United.

“When we’ve had cup runs in the past, and when we got promoted, it was that team spirit and that togetherness that really helped us achieve what we did,” said Gaskin.

“We’re going to need the whole team to be at their best if we’re going to stand a chance of going through, that’s for sure.”

With that in mind, just what kind of test is Gaskin expecting against Chris Agutter’s side?

“Like us they’ve had something of a season of two halves, with Agutter having done a fantastic job reversing their fortunes since he’s come in,” said Gaskin.

“Of course, they’re that league above looking to break into the play-offs, so they’re going to have some very good players.

“But on our day, I fancy us against anyone, and we proved that in the last two rounds, so we’ll just have to maintain that confidence, because even in the league we’ve put in some really good performances against the bigger sides.

“We know our players and what they can do, it’ll just be a case of if they can go to that extra gear and make that step up, which they’re proved they’re more than capable of doing this season.

“Before the game we’ll be reminding the boys of that fact, and that when they go out on the pitch, they should have just one thought in their heads; to be in that Final!”

Entry prices are as follows (Cash and Card accepted):

£12.00 Adult (17+)
£8.00 Concession (66+ and students with valid student ID card)
£3.00 Child (16 and under)
Official Match Day Programme will be available online

For further details about the Sussex Transport Senior Cup please contact:

T: 01903 753547

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