Humbugs could get relegation reprieve

Hayling United boss Lee Paul
Hayling United boss Lee Paul
Alex Pike. Picture: Malcolm Wells

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Hayling United are hoping they can still pull off a miraculous great escape from relegation, with the possibility of them getting a reprieve by the Wessex League.

Defeat by Moneyfields on Easter Monday seemed to condemn the Humbugs to the drop from the premier division.

But manager Lee Paul has received an e-mail from the league stating the situation is far from clear cut.

They are undecided whether one or two teams will be relegated.

With Brockenhurst just a point above Hayling with a game left to play, it means the Humbugs could seal survival if they beat Lymington Town at Hayling College tomorrow (3pm) and Brockenhurst fail to get the better of Moneyfields.

‘The league are still not sure if one or two teams will be relegated,’ said Paul.

‘It all depends on who finishes as runners-up and if they are promoted and whether Andover are coming down from the Southern League.

‘If two sides are relegated then we have had it but if it is just one, we can still overhaul Brockenhurst.

‘We have to beat Lymington and hope Moneyfields can do us a favour by winning in the New Forest.

‘It would be nice to know going into our last game but we will go into it as if we can still survive.

‘That makes it a huge game for us.

‘Whatever happens, I am extremely proud of the way my players have battled to the end and not given up.

‘If we do go down, then I am pledging to do everything I can to get the club back into the premier division.

‘We have a good foundation of players here and we can look forward to the future.’

Wessex League competitions secretary John Gorman admitted that events would be governed by the Football Association and their organisation of the non-league football pyramid.

‘Our league constitution states we will relegate two teams and promote two teams,’ said Gorman.

‘But the matter is out of our hands and depends what happens elsewhere.

‘We are definitely losing Poole Town to the Southern League and if Bemerton or Winchester City end up as runners-up, they could go, too.

‘If we lost two clubs and only got Andover back, then that would leave us one short and we would then relegate only one team.

‘Until the Football Association make a decision after all the leagues have finished, we can’t decide anything.

‘What happens further up the non-league chain will have an effect on what we do and we have no timescale on the outcome.’

Hayling United: May, Smallbones, Thornton, Watts, Summers, Case, Martin, Clements, Wray, Tambling, Burney, Black, Salter-Vaile, Eyres.