Difficult run for Hassocks kicks off with 3-0 defeat to Lancing

Southern Combination League Premier Division Football. Lancing FC v Hassocks. ''Picture: Liz Pearce  241015'LP1502181 PPP-151024-191400006
Southern Combination League Premier Division Football. Lancing FC v Hassocks. ''Picture: Liz Pearce 241015'LP1502181 PPP-151024-191400006

A devilishly difficult run of games that will see Hassocks take on five of the Southern Combination Premier Division’s top eight in succession kicked off with a disappointing 3-0 loss away at Lancing.

Making their first visit to Culver Road since the installation of a new 3G pitch at County HQ, the Robins gave away two awful goals to make an already tough assignment even harder.

Southern Combination League Premier Division Football. Lancing FC v Hassocks. ''Picture: Liz Pearce  241015'LP1502178 PPP-151024-191339006

Southern Combination League Premier Division Football. Lancing FC v Hassocks. ''Picture: Liz Pearce 241015'LP1502178 PPP-151024-191339006

Phil Wickwar felt that the scoreline was harsh on his side but was honest enough to say afterwards that some of the decisions the management took may have contributed to the defeat.

“In hindsight we perhaps set up wrong today and then we didn’t help ourselves either with the two we conceded. Now we have to roll our sleeves up and go again on Tuesday.”

And what a difficult evening that will be away at Horsham YMCA. Hassocks have only two league wins to their name at Gorings Mead since making their first trip there in 1992, the last success coming over a decade ago and with games against Pagham, Littlehampton Town and Loxwood to come, things aren’t going to get easier anytime soon.

There were plenty of familiar names in the Lancing squad to visiting fans with Josh Green, Jake Mills, Naim Rouane and Alex Spinks having previously represented the Robins as well as Ben Bowra and Alex Bygraves who had spells as youngsters in the reserve side.

In hindsight we perhaps set up wrong today and then we didn’t help ourselves either with the two we conceded

Phil Wickwar

It was Spinks who gave Lancing the lead on 24 minutes with a toe poke that trickled home after the defence got into a right tangle trying to clear their lines from Dave O’Callaghan’s run and pass.

That came as no surprise to anybody watching with Reece Wickwar already having been called into action to make good stops from Rouane and Richard Greenfield while Bygraves was denied by the woodwork.

Bygraves did get his name on the score sheet before the break, Hassocks’ inability to defend set pieces again being highlighted as the home defender rose to head home a Spinks corner.

The closest the Robins came in the first half was when Phil Gault’s free kick was well held by Green inside the opening five minutes.

Southern Combination League Premier Division Football. Lancing FC v Hassocks. ''Picture: Liz Pearce  241015'LP1502180 PPP-151024-191350006

Southern Combination League Premier Division Football. Lancing FC v Hassocks. ''Picture: Liz Pearce 241015'LP1502180 PPP-151024-191350006

Gault could have set up a tense finish but he was brilliantly denied with the trigger loaded and about to be pulled by a last ditch tackle from George Fenton with Lancing adding their third and final goal in stoppage time, O’Callaghan again the provider for substitute Callum McHale to stab home from close range.

Hassocks: R Wickwar; Akehurst, Marsh, Barnes, Jacques; Bant, Hawkes, Pitcher, Stokes; Death, Gault.

Subs: Slaughter, Price, Tighe (used), Wallis, P Wickwar (unused).

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