Hassocks 1, Broadbridge Heath 1: Late drama as Robins snatch a point

Phil Gault. Hassocks v Broadbridge Heath. Picture by PW Sporting Photography
Phil Gault. Hassocks v Broadbridge Heath. Picture by PW Sporting Photography

There was late drama at the Beacon as Phil Gault's 89th minute strike ensured that Hassocks took a point from 10 man Broadbridge Heath.

If there was ever an advert for the well worn phrase of "game of two halves" then this was it, the Bears dominating the opening 45 before Hassocks roared back into contention, eventually leading to the late leveller.

Nathan Miles. Hassocks v Broadbridge Heath. Picture by PW Sporting Photography

Nathan Miles. Hassocks v Broadbridge Heath. Picture by PW Sporting Photography

Heath looked totally dominant until a moment of stupidity from their captain Piers McDermott went a long way to ruining their chances of closing the gap to the top five in the Premier Division table.

With half time a matter of minutes away and James Westlake lying prone on the ground and referee Jamie Collumbell in attendance, McDermott inexplicably kicked out at the diminutive midfielder to earn a straight red card.

That allowed Hassocks to go into the break with a one man advantage and they used the half time team talk to adjust tactically which led to the second 45 minutes resembling a siege on the the railway end of the ground.

But Heath don't have the sixth best defensive record in the division by chance and they stood their ground manfully in spite of the fact that Hassocks ended the game with Gault, Nathan Miles, Jamie Hillwood, Ben Bacon and Michael Death on the pitch in a highly unusual front five.

Action from Hassocks v Broadbridge Heath. Picture by PW Sporting Photography

Action from Hassocks v Broadbridge Heath. Picture by PW Sporting Photography

Even with such a blend of attacking riches on other, the visitors still managed to repel wave after wave of red shirts piling forward until Miles produced some trademark magic to unlock the defence and tee up Gault.

It was simply brilliant from Miles as he foxtrotted his way out on the right, eventually delivering a low cross for Gault to sweep home past the exasperated Michael Chester in the Bears goal.

But oh how different things might have been without that red card. Heath had taken the lead with 16 minutes played through Tim Martin which was the least they deserved after a flying start to the game.

James Broadbent, as has so often been the case this season, was in excellent form though along with Nick Pitcher on a rare start at the heart of the defence in the absence of Jordan Badger and those two in particular were monumental in ensuring that it was only 1-0 at the break.

"A good point in the end," was how Phil Wickwar described it. "Their league position suggests they are a good side and we certainly saw that in the first half."

"We worked hard once they went down to 10, adjusted things a little tactically and were bold in throwing so many forwards on."

"But it paid off in the end as we kept going until the final whistle to grab the equaliser. Given the circumstances and the way we played in the second half, it was perhaps a missed opportunity for a win."

Hassocks: Broadbent; Akehurst, Pitcher, Mills, Marsh; Hawkes; J Westlake, L Westlake; Gault; Hillwood, Miles.

Subs: Bacon (Akehurst), Death (Hawkes), Bant, Tighe, Benson (unused).

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