Chris Agutter HERO

Agutter seeks to reward fans with Senior Cup glory

Hastings United vs. Horsham

The final of the Sussex Transport Senior Cup is set to be played on Wednesday 8 May 2024 between Hastings United and Horsham.

Hastings United vs. Horsham
Sussex Transport Senior Cup Final
Date: Wednesday 8 May 2024
Kick-off: 7:30pm
Venue: American Express Stadium, Village Way, Brighton, BN1 9BL

Hastings United’s Chris Agutter has the chance to cap off his return to the club in spectacular fashion, when his side walk out at the Amex Stadium to take on Horsham in their first Sussex Transport Senior Cup final for 24 years.

Though to get to this point, they first had to overcome a spirited Littlehampton Town side, who’s perseverance back in March was enough to give Agutter’s men plenty to think about and adapt to that night.

“Littlehampton were a good side, and that game was as tough as we expected it to be,” said Agutter, “on their day they can cause an upset, but when it came to the game, we were a bit more ruthless in both boxes, and that was where the game was won.”

Hastings are coming to the end of a season where they were very much in the hunt for a play-off spot in the Isthmian League Premier Division, which for Agutter, is all the more impressive considering his task on arrival back at the club was simply to keep them in the division.

“To be ahead of where we thought we’d be is something to take a lot from,” said Agutter, “we’ve had lots of pats on the back, but we know that we could be doing even better, because we’ve played and beaten the best teams in the division, but our position in the league doesn’t reflect that.

“For us it’s all about process over outcome, so it’s putting in the work now to improve the players and see that improvement each week, even if it’s just by 1%.

“We’ve just been taking each game at a time this season, and looking to be better for each game, because by the time we look back at the end of the campaign we’ll be able to see that improvement.”

It’s clear that such improvement can be seen across the squad, but is there anyone who Agutter feels particularly embodies this growth?

“JJ Walker has been really good for us this season,” said Agutter, “he’s still a teenager, and he’s had to be patient and wait for his opportunity, but due to the turnaround and the nature of the cup run, he’s been involved in every minute of our journey to the final.

“Even under me it could be argued he’s not had the game time he’s deserved, because he’s never really put a foot wrong for us.

“It could be said that he’s an extension of the whole team, because we’re a young group really punching above our weight this season.”

Looking ahead to the final, and for Agutter, his side and Horsham are no strangers to each other this season, having met in the league twice already, with Horsham coming away winners on both occasions.

“Whilst they took six points of us, for me that doesn’t reflect the nature of those games,” said Agutter, “I think if we’d just been more clinical on the day it would have been a different story, but that’s how those games go sometimes.

“Horsham are an experienced side, with a lot of players who know this level of football really well, and Dom (Di Paola) has had this group for a long time.

“So, we know from the two games that, if we’re at it, we have enough to get the better of them, but we need to be at our best in both boxes.”

Indeed, for Agutter he knows that the lessons learned in those two games will be invaluable if they’re going to be the ones lifting the cup at the end of the night.

“In terms of controlling the game and dominating possession we know we can do that against the best sides, so if we can just find a cutting edge again, and produce what I know we can produce, then I know we have what it takes,” said Agutter.

With Hastings having not lifted the trophy since 1996, that naturally brings with it an extra sense of anticipation, especially for the supporters, but for Agutter that’s something he’s not letting faze him or his team.

“We’ve made it to the final, so as far as I’m concerned, I just want us all to enjoy it, how many people can say they’ve managed or played in a cup final at the Amex Stadium?

“The players and myself will of course be feeling that pressure, but we can’t shrink off the back of it, because if we keep going in the direction we’re going in, hopefully it won’t be the last big final and occasion we’re playing in together.”

Of course, for Agutter, he knows the club's recent fortunes aren’t just down to the hard work of his staff and players, but also the incredible support from their fans.

“When speaking about the potential of a cup final, as a team a big motivator was the fact that we could give the supporters this day out at the Amex,” said Agutter.

“With the numbers we get, home and away, they’re the very best, and they’re always so loud and full of energy, and that gets through to the players and helps give them that little bit more.

“So hopefully we can go all the way and repay them by making some special memories on the day!”

Tickets can be purchased online from the Brighton & Hove Albion ticket portal. 

£12.00 Adult
£6.00 Under-18 / 65+
Official Match Day Programme will be available to purchase on the day.

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

T: 01903 753547

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