Consecutive defeat number seven was inflicted on Hassocks by high flying Eastbourne United Association who left the Beacon with a 2-1 win to ensure that the Robins have now equalled their worst ever losing run in senior football.
United hadn’t tasted success over a Hassocks side since 2009 but these are difficult times at the Beacon and Tobi Hutchinson’s young and impressive footballing side duly got the job done to ensure that the hosts matched their seven game losing streak of the 1998/99 season.
Two goals inside of four second half minutes from Liam Baitup and Tyler O’Callaghan ensured that the form book wasn’t upset despite the Robins having gone into the break with a shock lead through Ben Bacon’s fifth goal of the season.
These two couldn’t have been suffering more contrasting fortunes coming into the tie, United with just one league defeat to their name as they continue to stalk early league leaders Shoreham while Hassocks’ troubles probably don’t need any further explanation.
A glance at the team sheet didn’t make ideal reading for the Robins faithful either, their side lining up without a handful of first choice players with Ashley Marsh, Nathan Miles, Jamie Hillwood and James Broadbent all absent from proceedings.
With Alex Harris having departed for Burgess Hill Town late last week, that meant joint boss Phil Wickwar was forced into yet another outing between the sticks and he’d have been grateful for the fact that he was treated to a reasonably quiet first half.
Bacon opened the scoring with 35 minutes played, a neat finish after Josh Hawkes had shown great determination and very little grace to bundle his way through a handful of defenders to tee up the striker who continues to impress in his first season of senior football.
Hassocks made it to half time still ahead and lasted 10 minutes of the second half before that quickfire double from United turned the game on it’s head.
Every time Hassocks have concede a corner for the past two seasons it feels like their is at least a 70% chance that it is going to end up in the back of the net and that is exactly what happened when Baitup levelled things up, the Robins failing to clear the lines with the predatory forward needing little invitation to smash home.
It went from bad to worse less than 240 seconds later as United were ahead with what would ultimately prove to be the winner, O’Callaghan taking advantage of some hesitant defender to fire in off the underside of the crossbar from cross range.
The last 10 minutes proved to be a frantic affair as Hassocks desperately sought a way back into the game with Dan Stokes and under 21 striker Liam Benson thrown into proceedings but there were unable to grab an equaliser, leaving them with the sobering prospect of having to avoid defeat on Saturday’s visit to Worthing United - a ground that has historically proven to be about as fruitful as unseeded earth - to avoid making a most unwelcome piece of club history.
Hassocks: P Wickwar; Mills, Barnes, Badger, Akehurst; Hawkes; J Westlake, Bant; Gault; Bacon, Death.
Subs: Benson, Stokes (used), L Westlake, Price, John (unused).
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