Hayling targeting top six after Rough opens Humbugs account with a hat-trick in record HPL away victory
Dan Bishop has challenged his 'progressing' Hayling United side to land a top six finish in the Hampshire League Senior Division this season.
The Humbugs hammered struggling Chamberlayne Athletic 8-1 at the Station Road Ground in their penultimate fixture prior to Christmas.
It was Hayling’s record away victory since joining the HPL in 2014 - their previous best being a 7-1 romp at Infinity in November 2016 helped by a Ryan Jennings treble.
This time George Rough starred, hitting a hat-trick to open his account for the club.
It ensured Hayling delivered the perfect response after being thumped 7-2 in the Hampshire Trophy at Isle of Wight-based Whitecroft & Barton Sports the previous week.
They are now level on points with sixth-placed Colden Common, and boss Bishop sees no reason why Hayling cannot continue to move up.
‘If they keep good habits, we’ll have a good season,' said Bishop.
‘There’s no reason we can’t finish in the top six, as long as we keep going as we are.
‘Every week we are getting a bit wiser.‘The decision-making is better.
‘We have been pretty good at the back all season - despite last week.
‘It gives the forward-thinking players a platform to play because they trust the defence behind them.
'The team have come along way in a very short space of time.'
Hayling fell behind at a Chamberlayne side struggling to adapt in their first ever HPL season following promotion from the Southampton League.
However, Dan Mortimer levelled from the penalty spot on 35 minutes - incredibly his first first team goal since 2003 - before Rough grabbed his first minutes before the break.
Hayling were rampant after the restart, netting a further six times.
Rough completed his hat-trick, Sam Neal grabbed two while Matt Topple and sub Joe Boxall also struck.
‘It was by no means our best performance of the season,’ said Bishop. ‘But given the players we had missing, I was really pleased.'
The best finish Hayling have had in the HPL was sixth in 2016/17, the season they also won the HPL Cup by beating QK Southampton in the final.