Mother Nature defeated, but Hassocks lose to Chichester

Sussex County Football League.  Hassocks FC v Chichester FC. Action from the match. Picture : Liz Pearce. 210215. LP1500124 SUS-150221-190220008
Sussex County Football League. Hassocks FC v Chichester FC. Action from the match. Picture : Liz Pearce. 210215. LP1500124 SUS-150221-190220008

Mother Nature was defeated by the Beacon pitch but Hassocks were unable to get the same result in a game that they really needed to win as they fell to a 2-1 defeat against fellow strugglers Chichester City.

With a raft of postponements across the county following the deluge of Friday, the hard work and investment that the Robins have put into their playing surface was once again justified as the game passed a morning pitch inspection.

Sussex County Football League.  Hassocks FC v Chichester FC. Action from the match. Picture : Liz Pearce. 210215. LP1500119 SUS-150221-190130008

Sussex County Football League. Hassocks FC v Chichester FC. Action from the match. Picture : Liz Pearce. 210215. LP1500119 SUS-150221-190130008

They were rewarded with a biggest crowd of the season of 152 but that was about as far as the good news went for the Robins as Alex Ansa-McIntyre’s first half brace condemned them to loss number 14 of the season.

That leaves Mark Dalgleish and Phil Wickwar’s men outside of the drop zone only on goal difference with the side immediately below them, Ringmer, having two games in hand.

Sidley and Crawley Down Gatwick will require nothing short of a miracle to avoid finishing in the bottom three having picked up zero and one win respectively so far, leaving just one relegation spot remaining.

Chi arrived as one of six sides who could realistically fill it, meaning this was another one of those six pointers in the battle to avoid the trap door to Division Two but unlike recent encounters with Shoreham, Selsey and Hailsham Town, Hassocks were unable to get the job done.

Sussex County Football League.  Hassocks FC v Chichester FC. Action from the match. Picture : Liz Pearce. 210215. LP1500121 SUS-150221-190150008

Sussex County Football League. Hassocks FC v Chichester FC. Action from the match. Picture : Liz Pearce. 210215. LP1500121 SUS-150221-190150008

With Ellis Common injured, Rowan Wallis and Bradley Tighe unavailable and Nick Pitcher suspended the home side were forced into fielding somewhat of a makeshift backline, young Dan Stokes reverting to right back with Luke Pawson being handed a rare start on the left and Ashley Marsh partnered by the enigmatic Dan Jacques at centre back.

Ansa-McIntyre took advantage of some shambolic defending to score his quick fire double with the goals coming in the 15th and 25th minutes.

Hassocks tightened up after that debacle but the damage had already been done as they were unable to break down the resolute visitors aside from Phil Johnson’s 70th minute consolation taking him onto 17 goals for the campaign.

Marsh saw red in traditional fashion when he became involved in a scuffle which will do nothing to help ease the current defensive problems ahead of two games on the road.

Sussex County Football League.  Hassocks FC v Chichester FC. Action from the match. Picture : Liz Pearce. 210215. LP1500126 SUS-150221-190240008

Sussex County Football League. Hassocks FC v Chichester FC. Action from the match. Picture : Liz Pearce. 210215. LP1500126 SUS-150221-190240008

Wickwar admitted afterwards that he felt he should have set the side up differently and that that contributed to his most disappointing of defeats.

There was a late run out from the bench for Arni Kublickas in what was his first appearance for the front side in nearly five years while the sight of fan favourite defender Rob South also appearing as an unused sub as he works his way back from an injury hit year would have been a small consolation to the Robins faithful.

Hassocks: Willett; Stokes, Marsh, Jacques, Pawson; Price, Collins, Bant, Barnes, Davess; Johnson.

Subs: Kublickas (used), South, Ambridge, Williams R Wickwar (unused).