Draw comes as little surprise for Hassocks against Loxwood

JPCT 020315 S15080838x Football: County League Division 1: Double.  Loxwood v Hassocks  -photo by Steve Cobb SUS-150203-094048001
JPCT 020315 S15080838x Football: County League Division 1: Double. Loxwood v Hassocks -photo by Steve Cobb SUS-150203-094048001
  • Robins first ever senior visit to Loxwood
  • Phil Johnson scores Hassocks’ equaliser on 63 minutes
  • Boss Phil Wickwar said: “I’m delighted with the team’s performance today,”

Loxwood and Hassocks lead the way in Division One in terms of drawn games so far this season so it would have come as little surprise that the Robins first ever senior visit to Plaistow Road finished 1-1.

The hosts have taken to the County League’s top flight like a duck to water, losing just three games in the bread and butter competition so far as well as progressing to the final of the RUR Charity Cup and the semi final of the Sussex Senior Cup, where they lost 3-0 to Lewes the previous Tuesday.

That game seemed to have taken its toll on the Magpies as the visitors were perhaps just the better side, particularly when Phil Johnson was involved as the striker ran former Robin Eddie French ragged to the point where the experienced defender was eventually withdrawn from the proceedings.

Hassocks were able to welcome back Bradley Tighe and Rowan Wallis to their backline after the duo missed last weeks disappointing defeat to Chichester City as the Robins dominated the early exchanges.

They were unable to take advantage of that however with Loxwood opening the scoring against the run of play, Andre Elkana scoring with a driven effort from 15 yards past the despairing dive of George Willett in the Robins goal.

Things went from bad to worse minutes later when Luke Pawson pulled a hamstring, the diminutive left back limping off on a rare start for the first team to be replaced by Tom Davess.

JPCT 020315 S15080861x Football: County League Division 1: Double.  Loxwood v Hassocks  -photo by Steve Cobb SUS-150203-093445001

JPCT 020315 S15080861x Football: County League Division 1: Double. Loxwood v Hassocks -photo by Steve Cobb SUS-150203-093445001

Despite the upheaval caused by the enforced change, Hassocks continued to play some pleasing football on the heavy pitch as both sides had strong penalty appeals turned down.

The equaliser eventually arrived just past the hour mark when the lively Johnson got the goal his performance deserved with a move straight from the training ground.

The Robins have conceded far too many soft goals from set pieces in this campaign so that they managed to net from a well worked free kick would have been pleasing for all concerned.

Mark Price was the architect as has so often been the case in the last month or so, sliding Bradley Bant in with a short ball down the side of the wall and his squared pass was tapped home by Johnson.

The lads responded well from last week at what is a difficult place to come

Either side could have won it from there with a draw probably being the fairest – and certainly the most predictable – result on the day.

Both sides would be riding much higher than their respective positions in the table had they have been able to turn some of those stalemates into victories, something that Hassocks joint boss Phil Wickwar reflected on afterwards.

“I’m delighted with the team’s performance today,” Wickwar stated. “The lads responded well from last week at what is a difficult place to come and now we just need to start converting some of these draws into wins to pull away from trouble.”

Hassocks: Willett; Tighe, Marsh, Wallis, Pawson; Price, Collins, Bant, Barnes, Jacques; Johnson.

JPCT 020315 S15080952x Football: County League Division 1: Double.  Loxwood v Hassocks  -photo by Steve Cobb SUS-150203-093625001

JPCT 020315 S15080952x Football: County League Division 1: Double. Loxwood v Hassocks -photo by Steve Cobb SUS-150203-093625001

Subs: Davess (Pawson), Stokes (Collins), Hillwood (Price), R Wickwar, P Wickwar (unused).