FA Vase victory sees Seb Hayes get off to a winning start as manager of Huntingdon Town

Huntingdon Town FC V Wellingborough

Huntingdon Town FC V Wellingborough - Credit: Archant

Seb Hayes has a 100 per cent winning record as manager of Huntingdon Town but is yet to see his team play a game in the United Counties League.

Huntingdon’s midweek match against Newport Pagnell Town was postponed last week because of a waterlogged pitch so the new manager had to wait until Saturday to make his debut as gaffer in their home game against Thetford Town of the Eastern Counties League in the first round proper of the FA Vase.

That wasn’t such a bad thing, said Hayes, after the 3-0 win, because it meant at least he got one training session under his belt with the squad before his first game in charge. “It was frustrating that the game was called off but it did give us time for me and Ricky Dear [assistant manager] to work with the players in training,” he said.

“We had to get a good training session under our belts after Ricky Marheineke left so it kind of worked to our advantage really because today everyone knew what was going on and it was relaxed.”

Hayes said he didn’t want the focus to be on him as the new manager on Saturday but admitted it was a relief to get the first game out of the way and for it to be a win.

He said: “It was about the club and the team today, not about me. I didn’t want it to be about the new management team – I put a bit of onus on the players and told them they hadn’t been playing to form and we had to get back on top and the lads took that on board.

“We had a good 90 minutes and to be fair we could have won by five or six clear goals really.”

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Things got a bit shaky in the first half when Thetford hit the woodwork twice in under a minute as Thetford caused problems on the counter attack – but a great strike from striker Niks Savalnieks settled the home side’s nerves just after half time and the Latvian should have made it 2-0 when he hit the side netting with a header minutes later.

Declan Rogers was able to pick his spot for the second goal after some great work from Jacob Joyce and Curtis Fulcher and the third one was scored by Jamie Graham when he round the goalkeeper and tucked the ball home from a tight angle. There were chances a plenty after that but they all went begging.

Hayes’s first game as manager of the club in the UCL will now be on Saturday when Huntingdon go to Long Buckby. On Saturday, November 16, Huntingdon will go to Central Midlands League North Division side AFC Mansfield in the second round of the FA Vase.