Nothing can separate Hassocks and St Francis Rangers in Bank Holiday draw

Hassocks V St Francis 6/4/15 (Pic by Jon Rigby) SUS-150704-103159008
Hassocks V St Francis 6/4/15 (Pic by Jon Rigby) SUS-150704-103159008

Nothing could separate Hassocks and St Francis Rangers as this eagerly anticipated Bank Holiday Monday local derby ended in a 1-1 draw.

Another large Beacon crowd of 162 enjoyed a typically feisty encounter between the two local rivals which sparked into life in the final half hour.

Nathan Miles had given the home side the lead with 60 minutes played before Jamie Weston converted a late penalty to ensure that Rangers stretched their unbeaten run in the fixture to four games.

These meetings are not for the faint of heart and there were plenty of meaty challenges in a first half which was dominated by the Robins.

Miles squandered two glorious chances to send his side into the break ahead, firstly racing through only to produce a weak finish and then being denied by St Francis goalkeeper Rob Gordon with a smart save from close range.

Hassocks captain Nick Pitcher got in on the gilt edged opportunities spurned game when he contrived to miss a free header from close range.

Hassocks V St Francis 6/4/15 (Pic by Jon Rigby) SUS-150704-103144008

Hassocks V St Francis 6/4/15 (Pic by Jon Rigby) SUS-150704-103144008

The Robins’ central midfield trio of Pitcher, Ryan Collins and Bradley Bant had dominated proceedings but Rangers emerged with more purpose in the second half before Miles knocked the wind out of their sails, taking advantage of the visitors failure to clear their lines by curling past Gordon with aplomb.

St Francis refused to give in however and they were rewarded when Weston cast his spell from the spot with ten minutes remaining to continue his remarkable run of success from 12 yards to earn a point.

Hassocks are nearly there in terms of Division One survival now sitting seven points clear of the final relegation spot with three games remaining while the draw guaranteed Rangers a finishing spot above their rivals for just the second time in the clubs history.

The Robins joint boss Phil Wickwar believed his side to have been the better of the two on the day just as away at Eastbourne Town two days previously when they drew 2-2, saying: “On another weekend we would have ended up with six points out of six but we can’t fault the lads for the turnaround since Christmas.

One more win and then it is job done

Phil Wickwar

“One more win and then it is job done.”

Rangers boss Glenn Charker said: “‘I think a draw is a fair result for both sides.

“To be honest we were probably a bit fortunate to go in level at half time as they had two or three real good chances and if they had taken them then the game may have gone in another direction.

“We nearly nicked it at the end when Luke (Leppard) went through and on another day we might have nicked the three points.

Hassocks V St Francis 6/4/15 (Pic by Jon Rigby) SUS-150704-103131008

Hassocks V St Francis 6/4/15 (Pic by Jon Rigby) SUS-150704-103131008

“We gave them a sloppy goal with some poor defending but all in all, no complaints from me – they were the better side for the first half and I think we were better in the second……. definitely a game of two halves!”

Hassocks V St Francis 6/4/15 (Pic by Jon Rigby) SUS-150704-103212008

Hassocks V St Francis 6/4/15 (Pic by Jon Rigby) SUS-150704-103212008

Hassocks V St Francis 6/4/15 (Pic by Jon Rigby) SUS-150704-103226008

Hassocks V St Francis 6/4/15 (Pic by Jon Rigby) SUS-150704-103226008