It was a disappointing day at the office for Hassocks as they fell to a 2-1 loss away at recently promoted AFC Uckfield Town.
This represented a second league defeat in a row and although the result at Newhaven in their last Premier Division outing hardly came as a surprise given the quality of the opposition, this was the sort of game that you really need to pick something up from if it isn’t to be a long, hard winter.
The Robins were without Jonno Melia and Spencer Slaughter – both of whom scored in last weeks Sussex Senior Cup victory at Midhurst & Easebourne – and their absence was keenly felt, particularly in a 20 minute spell towards the end of the first half in which Hassocks dominated the game but lacked the quality to make it count sufficiently on the scoreboard.
Indeed it felt as though the break had come at just the wrong time for the visitors as they laid siege to the Uckfield goal before the home side came out regrouped and reorganised with Hassocks never really able to find that rhythm and flow again although they did continue to see more of the ball in the second 45.
Uckfield opened the scoring as early as the eighth minute, the dangerous Stephen Dallaway taking advantage of a slow start from Hassocks to give the home side the lead.
Then came that fantastic spell of football from the visitors in which they scored, missed a penalty and should have put away at least a couple of other opportunities.
Everything went against us todayPhil Wickwar
Firstly to the penalty, a poor kick from Luke Akehurst who found himself thrust into taker duties thanks to a lack of other volunteers in the absence of Nick Pitcher and Slaughter, both of whom you’d have backed to net from the spot.
As for the equaliser, it came from the unfamiliar source of Rowan Wallis, the rangy defender scoring with an absolutely superb header for his first ever goal for the club.
That was the least that Wallis deserved for a colossal performance at the heart of the defence which underlined just what a key player he has become in the last year since stepping up from the reserve side.
Mark Price had to be substituted in that Senior Cup win last week as a precaution to stop him picking up a red card from referee Lukasz Sipior and a cynic might say that Mr Sipior has something of a grudge against the mercurial midfielder as he didn’t pass up the opportunity to dismiss him here.
The reasoning was foul and abusive language which seemed a strange decision to say the least given some of the industrial words that had been used and largely ignored by the official throughout the game by both sides.
There were 15 minutes remaining when Uckfield hit their winner and it was a poor goal to give away from a Hassocks point of view, Drew Greenall sending a looping header over George Willett to ensure the three points stayed at The Oaks.
Despite their numerical disadvantage, the Robins gave it a real go in the final ten and any latecomers would have thought that it was the home side who were playing shorthanded such was the Hassocks domination but just as in the preceding 80 minutes they were unable to find a way through.
“Everything went against us today,” was Phil Wickwar’s assessment after the game. “Even with 10 men we had them holding on and I don’t think you can argue the fact we deserved at least a point.”
Hassocks: Willett; Tighe, Barnes, Wallis, Akehurst; Stokes, Bant, Hawkes, Price, Hillwood; Miles.
Subs: Jacques, R Collins (used), Benson (unused).
Starman: Rowan Wallis
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