Hassocks' mini winning run comes to an end at Peacehaven

Phil Wickwat thought the penalty decision was 'shocking'
Phil Wickwat thought the penalty decision was 'shocking'

Their mini winning run may have come to an end at Peacehaven & Telscombe, but Hassocks gave the title chasing Tye a real fright before succumbing to a 3-2 defeat on Tuesday night, writes Scott McCarthy.

An entertaining tie was decided by a moment of controversy as Peacehaven were awarded a penalty for handball against Josh Tuck on 75 minutes, a decision which Phil Wickwar derided as "shocking" afterwards.

Wickwar is normally phlegmatic when it comes to discussing refereeing decisions in the aftermath of a game, so you know it must have been a poor one from Anthony Andrews to rile the Robins joint boss up so much.

Indeed, Mr Andrews seemed to be the only person in the ground who saw a deliberate handball in the box, which was the tip of the iceberg in terms of a number of strange calls he made all evening.

Peacehaven were only too happy to accept the invitation to score their third, Cam Wiltshere sending Alex Harris the wrong way from the resulting spot kick.

The hosts came into the game joint top with Haywards Heath Town, having surrendered just seven points all season but Hassocks were more than deserving of a point of their own.

They took the lead on 28 minutes when Liam Benson headed home a corner for his seventh of the season, leaving the young Robins striker just three goals shy of his entire total for the previous campaign already.

It had been a very even half up until that point and that was reflected in the fact that the Hassocks lead lasted all of six minutes, Frazer Massen levelling things up with a low shot with the outside of his boot that left Harris unsighted.

Hassocks have scored goals inside the opening five minutes of either the first or second half in their last four games and they did it again here when Michael Death put them back ahead on 48 minutes with a goal of the highest quality, a left footed volley on the swivel that drew applause from all corners of the Sports Park.

Curtis Ford levelled things up again on the hour mark before the Tye were handed that softest of opportunities to take the lead for the first time in the game with 75 minutes played.

That knocked the wind out of Hassocks' sails somewhat although they did have a glorious chance to equalise when James Westlake and Adam Dawson worked to release substitute Phil Gault whose cross was put just the wrong side of the post by Benson.

There was still time after that for Mr Andrews to infuriate Hassocks further as he showed Harry Mills a red card although this was a far less questionable decision than the penalty; the Robins feeling that Mills' tackle was mistimed rather than malicious but there was little doubt that it involved what in wrestling terms would have been described as an aerial drop kick.

Going down to 10 men effectively ended Hassocks' chances of getting something from the game and Wickwar said it was a disappointed away changing room afterwards who were left wondering what might have been.

"The lads feel gutted and perhaps rightly so. But to be gutted about losing to one of the best sides in the league in the circumstances we did shows how far we have come in recent weeks. We can still improve on the ball but we're getting there."

Hassocks: Harris; Tuck, Broomfield, Badger; Dawson, J Westlake, Slaughter, L Westlake; Bant; Death, Benson.