Loxwood 5, Hassocks 3: Robins condemned to worst winless run in more than 10 years

Hassocks FC's  Phil Wickwar and Mark Dalgliesh. Pic Steve Robards SR1524771 SUS-151019-144658001
Hassocks FC's Phil Wickwar and Mark Dalgliesh. Pic Steve Robards SR1524771 SUS-151019-144658001

It’s now ten games without a victory for Hassocks as a 5-3 defeat away at high flying Loxwood on Tuesday night condemned the Robins to their worst winless run in over a decade.

And it was an all too familiar story at Plaistow Road as two goals in the final five minutes of the first 45 turned the game around as the visitors saw a deserved 2-1 lead flipped on its head to leave them going into the break trailing 3-2.

Of the 38 goals Hassocks have conceded in the league this season, 12 have come in the last five minutes of either half and it is this alarming ability of capitulating after 40 minutes work that is really harming their cause in a season that is again beginning to look like a desperate struggle against the drop into Division One.

Mark Dalgleish and Phil Wickwar have been busy on the transfer front in the last week in an attempt to shake their side out of this dire sequence with midfielder James Westlake and goalkeeper Alex Harris both returning to the club from Haywards Heath Town and Metropolitan Police respectively and they both started here.

The Robins could have been forgiven for looking rusty given that this was their first game in 17 days if you excuse the encounter with Worthing United that was abandoned at half time at the weekend after an electrical problem in the village knocked out the Beacon’s power supply and with it the floodlights.

Yet they went ahead with just three minutes played when Bradley Bant’s corner sailed straight in despite the call of “safe” from Loxwood goalkeeper Sam Smith but the lead lasted just nine minutes, Michael Death being desperately unlucky to deflect a Josh Courtney cross past the returning Alex Harris in the Robins goal.

Smith obviously wasn’t content with playing his part in giving Hassocks their opener as he did his level best to hand Spencer Slaughter a golden opportunity to make it 2-1 when he came charging out of goal only to see Slaughter beat him to the ball but the midfielder’s effort on goal rolled agonisingly wide.

The Loxwood goalkeeper was again involved when Hassocks retook the lead on 35 minutes, failing to collect after a strong challenge from Phil Gault allowed Dan Jacques’ cross to drop in at the far post.

Then came those two quickfire goals from the hosts with the impressive Ollie Gill the architect of both, firstly slipping in Jon Nurse after a rapid counter attack from a Hassocks corner and then teeing up Michael Wood to give Loxwood the lead.

Gill himself made it 4-2 five minutes after the restart with a low drive from distance band the game was up on the hour mark when Nurse added his second of the evening and Loxwood’s fifth by rounding off another counter attack despite strong appeals of offside.

Hassocks added a late third when substitute Josh Hawkes ended a goal mouth scramble from a free kick by firing home with the last kick of the game.

That was of course nothing more than a consolation but to score three times against a side who came into the game with the joint third best defensive record in the division will at least give the Robins some hope ahead of what is a massive six pointer away at the side immediately above them in the table on Saturday, Wick & Barnham United.

Hassocks: Harris; Barnes, Marsh, Pitcher, Jacques; Westlake, Bant, Slaughter, Melia; Death, Gault.

Subs: Akehurst (Pitcher), Hawkes (Bant), Tighe (Slaughter), Wallis, Price (unused).

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