BOWERS & Pitsea are hoping to attract a bumper crowd to tonight’s pre-season friendly with Hashtag United.

Since being founded by YouTube personality Spencer Owen in 2016, Hashtag have joined the non-league pyramid and got their hands on the Eastern Counties League Division One South title last term.

Hashtag are now preparing for Essex Senior League football in the upcoming season and Bowers boss Rob Small is hoping young fans will flock to the Len Salmon Stadium.

“I’m really excited for the Hashtag game,” said Small.

“It will be great for the children of Basildon and Pitsea to come and see this new era of football team.

“I think it’s a really exciting thing that Hashtag are doing.

“I see a really big future for Hashtag and the foundations they have laid to get to this point means they will go from strength to strength.

“It’s a really exciting moment for them and they are soon going to be the envy of all.

“At the moment it’s Bowers against Hashtag with us as the more senior club, but one day Hashtag will be a big name in non-league football.

“If they are managed correctly off the pitch, they have a market there which will flourish.”

Hashtag are managed by former East Thurrock United assistant manager Jay Devereux.

And Small is looking forward to seeing some recognisable stars on the pitch this evening.

“There are a few familiar faces in the Hashtag team,” added Small.

“I know Harry Honesty and Ricky Evans, while we have played against Neil Richmond a number of times.

“Jay Devereux is one of the most genuine people in non-league and I really respect him.

“I hope it’s a great occasion and that the people come out to watch the game.”

Bowers will head into the encounter having registered a thumping 5-0 win over National League South side Concord Rangers 48 hours earlier.

Max Cornhill grabbed a brace of goals, while James Thomas, David Knight and Lewis Clark were also on target.

But Small felt Bowers were lucky to keep a clean sheet.

“I think the scoreline flatters us in a lot of respects because in the first half we were fortunate not to concede,” admitted Small.

“They had two big chances through Lamar Reynolds and Billy Roast, where they missed an open goal and hit the bar. If they go in, it’s a different game.”