A much improved performance from Hassocks was not enough to help them avoid consecutive defeat number five as they fell 1-0 to high flying Chichester City.
That run could have ended here however had Hassocks taken even a fraction of the plethora of chances they created. Phil Wickwar busted out the statistics afterwards from the clubs analyst. By his reckoning, Hassocks enjoyed 67% possession, had 15 attempts to Chichester’s nine and nine corners to Chichester’s four.
But football games aren’t won on stats, they are won on how many times you can stick the ball in the back of the net and Chichester managed it once to take home the three points.
It was an early goal as well, Josh Clack scoring after 11 minutes to leave everyone inside the Beacon fearing that another convincing defeat could be on the cards.
The excellent Dan Stokes and James Westlake in central midfield had other ideas though and they drove Hassocks on as Chi failed to deal convincingly with the movement of Nathan Miles and Phil Gault in attack.
The Beacon has become a good place for “celebrity spotting” over the last few weeks, former Brighton and Hove Albion and Leyton Orient favourite Dean Cox was there for the 2-1 defeat to Loxwood a fortnight previously and this time it was ex-Albion chairman Dick Knight who chose Hassocks over making the journey to Burton Albion away.
Mr Knight concluded that Hassocks were the better side and should have won the game, and here is why. Brace yourself, there are a lot of gilt edged chances to mention as Hassocks missed opportunity after opportunity with alarming regularity.
Miles, Gault and Ben Bacon spurned three golden chances as well as a hatful of half chances, Gault clipped the bar with a free kick with visiting goalkeeper Charlie Searle beaten all ends up and Jordan Badger was millimetres away with a header from a Miles delivery.
They did get the ball in the net once and it was from a moment rarer than finding a set of hens teeth - a Mark Price header. The diminutive midfielder rose to nod home, only to see referee Michael Barnes rule it out for the slightest of pushes much to Hassocks’ frustration.
“We passed the ball ever so well and created chance after chance. But we only have ourselves to blame, we need to take the opportunities, get into a lead and then manage the game from there,” was the verdict of Wickwar once he’d finished dishing out the stats to back up his claim that this wasn’t a terrible afternoon of work from the Robins.
“A little bit more composure and awareness in front of goal and we’d have got something from today. We must take the positives from what was in fact a good performance.”
They’ll need to take all the positives they can as well. Things don’t get any easier next week with a visit to Newhaven, a place they have never managed to win a game of competitive football.
Hassocks: Broadbent; Barnes, Marsh, Badger, Akehurst; Price; J Westlake, Stokes; Bacon; Gault, Miles.
Subs: Death, Hillwood, Hawkes (used), Bant, Mills (unused).
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